Medical VR Apps Used Around the World 

February 13, 2018
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Medical VR Apps

Virtual reality is a technology that’s been around for several years, but with the recent release of the best VR headsets, this technology is changing both home entertainment and medical treatment. Medical VR apps in the healthcare field can work as both training tools for doctors or treatment in patients who are suffering from phobias, chronic pain, or mobility issues.

In the healthcare world, virtual reality is becoming more affordable. While this type of technology has already been used in hospitals, clinics, and some private practices for the past few decades, it has not been widely used due to the high cost of equipment.

In the beginning, this type of equipment ranged from thirty thousand up to more than three hundred thousand.

These days, VR headsets are available at a much more affordable price. As an example, the Oculus Rift headset is priced at around four hundred to six hundred dollars. Competing headsets can be found for just a few hundred dollars.

Medical apps are currently being used to increase a medical facility’s return on investment. These VR apps are designed to reduce paperwork and improve a patient’s satisfaction with treatment.  Medical apps can often play an important role in the treatment of certain diseases.

So, what exactly do medical virtual reality apps do?

The most popular types include:

  • Medical games
  • Immersive VR environment
  • Pain reduction
  • Surgery simulators
  • Treatment of phobias and psychological disorders
  • Medical training tool for med students
  • Medical meditation Apps

Relaxation and VR Treatment

Meditation and yoga typically act as a mild form of therapy to treat different physical and mental disorders. This kind of treatment can offer several advantages including:

  • Balancing blood pressure and heart rate
  • Coping mechanism for people with depression and anxiety

The effects of treatment can be due to special breathing techniques and full relaxation techniques. But there’s a major problem for some patients; yoga breathing can be difficult to learn and it can be even more difficult to keep the proper breathing rhythm when the patient is relaxed. Everyone who has tried yoga knows this can be a major problem. It’s hard to keep your breathing relaxed and rhythmic and focus on movements.

But VR apps can actually be a much better alternative to yoga, especially in patients with limited mobility.

An app called Deep Virtual Reality is designed to help the user control their breathing. With the help of this app, a patient will be fully immersed in the VR world, in an underwater environment, teaching patients how to effectively and consistently control their breathing. The controller used for this app consists of a belt with a monitor. The monitor works by measuring the expansion of the diaphragm in order to pinpoint deep breathing. With the use of different types of deep breathing techniques, the patient is able to move through a realistic underwater world. This is a classic app in the medical field. It was originally created for private use, but it soon became a popular treatment for patients suffering from anxiety disorders.

Treatment for Mental Disorders

Psychotherapy is the most common treatment when it comes to mental disorders. This type of therapy explores the patient’s inner state, attempting to transform the patient’s thoughts and feelings. VR can be an excellent tool to use to improve therapy efficiency and effectiveness.

The potential for virtual reality treatment in the healthcare field can help doctors to treat patients suffering from a wide range of mental conditions including PTSD.

Many believe that virtual reality is the perfect treatment option.

Project Bravemind

This app allows the patient to confront certain types of traumatic experiences under the direct supervision of a therapist. This app is specifically designed to treat patients suffering from PTSD. Currently, more than eighty facilities all over the globe use this app. Mainly, these facilities consist of military bases and universities.

Using a virtual reality headset, the user is able to confront traumatic experiences. This tailored software program is very versatile. Both the scenarios and landscapes can be changed to fit a particular patient’s traumatic experience, providing a realistic real life situation that can trigger a patient’s past experiences. Basically, the simulations are designed to cause the patient to relive the traumatic experience that caused the PTSD.

The treatment of PTSD with virtual reality has an impressively high success rate. Additionally, therapy becomes less time-consuming.

Treating Depression

VR apps can also be used to treat patients diagnosed with depression, with a high success rate in teenage patients.

Sparx

This app allows the patient to complete quests in the 3D world to confront their negative and depressive though process. This app is designed to teach the patient how to fight their ongoing depressive thoughts in a very hands-on and entertaining way. This game is very popular among teenage patients because it’s not perceived as therapy.

Autism Treatment

Some apps can help to train social skills in patients who have an autism diagnosis. Children can learn about socially appropriate behavior and can overcome their fear of interacting with other people. There are many apps tailored to both young children and teens that will provide the patient with a variety of different social scenarios, providing the patient with a safe environment in which they’re relaxed, focused, and engaged. During treatment, the physician can choose from a variety of scenarios based on the patient’s interests.

Pain Management and Snow World

In terms of pain management, many apps have already been proven effective. For some, VR treatment has already taken the place of prescription painkillers during certain types of medical procedures.

Produced by one of the top medical VR companies, Snow World is a virtual reality app that’s very popular in clinics and hospitals. It can help to distract patients during painful medical procedures, such as wound care treatment for burn victims.

In Snow World, the patient will face penguins, mammoths, and snowmen, as they travel through an icy canyon. During the game, relaxing music is used to provide a totally immersive experience.

The goal of the program is to deeply engage the patient, causing the patient to forget about their real-world environment and instead focus all of their attention on this fascinating new world.

 

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