We have witnessed unprecedented progress within the field virtual reality (VR) technology in recent years. More specifically, VR is no longer a thrown-about term used exclusively for video game junkies or tech enthusiast, indeed, the role of VR in healthcare is becoming ever more prevalent with the technology now being incorporated in surgery simulation, skills training, and even phobia treatment.
By offering an unparalleled alternative to traditional training methods, medical students can now improve their practical training by undertaking a variety of simulations – all with the convenience of virtual reality technology. Surgeons can even perform “mock surgeries” using a realistic, immersive experience without ever required actual human bodies to work on. Not only is this process considerably cheaper, but it would also be free of all the usual ethical constraints that typically surround the use of animal or human bodies in the process of advancing healthcare.
By utilizing equipment such as headphones, microphones, VR goggles, handset controllers, and laser sensors on the wall that follow their every move – medical students can act or give commands based on their “clinical decisions” to the virtual patients.
For example, they can simply don a headset and remotely manipulate bones, muscles, nerves, and organs independently, zoom into the microscopic level if they want to. At the same time, lecturers and professors can observe the displaying monitors to guide students during their practices.
Closer to home, Perdana University Graduate School of Medicine, Malaysia, has recently implemented the use of Mscope, an interactive virtual microscope, extensively for histology & pathology teaching.
The microscope along with its accompanying software provides online access to an expanding digital archive of high resolution scanned images of many common and important diseases, infections, and cancers of human tissue sections.
The future of Virtual Reality technology and its implementation is likely to become an ever-growing field in the next decade – a by-product of the increasing global cost of healthcare, and a population explosion on a scale that we have never witnessed before.