How are Virtual Reality and 3D Animation changing the Future of Medicine?

Virtual Reality has gradually become a part of our day-to-day lives. Most children, and adults, prefer VR gaming as compared to conventional gaming methods. eCommerce too, has stepped into the world of VR. When all cogs of society have started associating with Virtual Reality, why must medicine, one of our society's most prominent contributors, stand back? Let us take a look at how virtual reality is changing healthcare

Novant Health Introduces Interactive VR Programme

Carolina healthcare provider - Novant Health recently announced that they would be incorporating Virtual Reality into their healthcare system to make conversations easier. There are many situations were conversing with the patient might prove to be difficult for the healthcare provider. Using Virtual Reality to speak with colleagues and patients makes explaining medical conditions more manageable and error-free. 

Moreover, trainees could use virtual Reality to practice complex medical procedures with helpful 3D animations, which proves to be more beneficial than 2D instructional training. The MothFlame+ collaborative approach used voice interaction which gave the soft skill training program a more immersive and efficient approach. Members across the service locations can access a natural, life-like environment that uses natural language processing to practice difficult workplace discussions in a non-life-threatening climate with the help of New York-based tech studio- MothFlame+.

Stimulating Medical Learners with VR

To learn more efficiently, it is crucial to make sure that learners' minds are stimulated. Educating future healthcare professionals with the help of 3d animations has been in the news for a while now; however, incorporating these animations within a virtual reality headset can help increase learning efficiency.

360° Videos

360-video is the methodology of motion-picture photography in 360 degrees to form an entire image of the surrounding. Such recordings will then be viewed in a VR headset. 360-video could be an appropriate medium if the aim is to supply the learner with non-interactive expertise of the environment.

Students can learn about the inner systems of the human body with precise details in a more interactive way with this method and can walk through the specific system they are learning. Animated 360° videos will include the use of 3D design and animation of the topic of interest since 360° photography of such issues is not possible yet. 

Interactive VR

Compared to the former, Interactive VR is a world of immersive, dynamic, adaptive, and interactive platforms. With the help of such technologies, students can learn the qualities required by a medical professional in several situations.

Students can view hospital wards and patients in 3d and treat them in VR. The focus in such situations is on deciding, critical thinking, and clinical reasoning, with cases designed to mimic human interaction within the real world. 

Once these scenarios are completed, learners will receive virtual reports allowing them to examine automatically-generated feedback on their performance. In VR, feedback is often provided on technical and non-technical skills administered within the simulation relative to best follow. This enables learners to look at their performance in additional detail and provides the chance for homogenized learning. It conjointly facilitates peer learning as learners will share feedback with their colleagues and mentors as a basis for discussing specific learning points.

London-based Oxford Medical Simulation delivers such platforms globally, with scenarios covering medicine, nursing, pediatrics, psychiatry, and community health.

VR Training in India

A fully automated VR simulation lab was inaugurated at Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in May 2022. This is the country's first fully automated VR simulation lab, installed by MediSimVR, an Indian medical technology company based out of IIT-Madras, and Johnson & Johnson Innovation Labs.

This lab aims to help students learn with the help of virtual animation to understand concepts better, therefore improving student performance. The combination of traditional teaching methods and the new state-of-the-art technology will bring forward recent changes that can change the face of medical education in India. 


Diagnosing Made Easier with Virtual Reality


VR is being used as a powerful diagnostic tool, enabling medical professionals to diagnose accurately. This is done in combination with other diagnostic methods, such as MRI/CT scans, and eliminates the need for invasive techniques, making it a pain-free experience for the patient. 

Mental Health Diagnosis

VR could be a promising diagnostic tool because it generates scenarios and experiences that cannot simply be created during a traditional clinical setting.

Diagnostic tests such as Mini-Mental State Examination are imperfect due to the lack of ecological validity. The approach to the task with the utilization of VR is practical because we can produce psychological feature maps in Virtual Environments with the help of 3D design, which the patients are then required to memorize. The advantage of such tests, apart from efficacy, is that there are no risks of getting lost or hurt.

Patients can also be tested and treated for other disorders such as PTSD, phobias induced panic attacks, etc.

Visualizing Cancerous Tumours

Since VR is an immersive and interactive tool, the doctor can incorporate this

while performing the surgery. From MRI knowledge, a 3D model is designed and displayed. This helps the technologists as well as the doctors performing biopsy to become proficient and confident as this visualization makes their task easy.


Changing the Future of Surgical Procedures with VR

Preparing for Surgeries

Virtual reality technology permits surgeons to explore a patient's anatomy before performing a procedure, which is very similar to a pilot using a flight simulator. The technology may be a teaching tool for medical students and residents. 

Pre-surgical data can be visualized with the help of 3D animations in VR, which can walk the surgeon through all medical history and the procedure to be performed on the patient. 

Future of Robotic Arm Surgeries

As robotic surgery becomes a more common choice for operative procedures because of faster recovery times, lower complication rates, decreased blood loss, and recovery of site-specific functions, surgeons are tasked with improving and retaining skills without affecting patient safety.

Virtual Reality assistance can help the surgeon operate the robotic arm more efficiently while getting a better view of the procedure. With a Virtual Reality headset, the surgeon has a see-through display instead of the traditional heads-up display, which is more prone to errors. 


Using VR in Pain Management

While hospitals keep a good stock of pain management drugs, these may have a long-term effect on the patient, such as kidney/liver damage, if taken in excess. Such anesthetics can be replaced by VR for acute cases. 

Physicians have employed cognitive distraction strategies to treat differing kinds of pain for quite a while. VR provides a brand new face to those distraction strategies by providing numerous interactive games. These games square measure vie during a simulated atmosphere and square measure loaded with interactive options.

The advantage of such methods is that VR is a sober pain management variety, which may be used with or while not in clinical care settings. 

India, too, has stepped into this field with the collaboration of Apollo hospitals and 8chilli Inc. to help manage patients' pain by giving them a pair of VR goggles that take them into an environment of their choice ratchet than administering a high dose of pain killers.


Treating Mental Health with VR and 3D Animations 


More people require mental health treatment today than ever, but the mental health patients-to-psychologist ratio remains very low. An abundance of digital health apps is available in the market. Many of these are designed to be low-intensity, and low-touch, which means they don't require the touch of a clinician.

VR has changed the face of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and other exposure therapies. Exposure therapy is a standard procedure for treating different kinds of mental states. VR is slowly changing how this technique is administered for unsound patients by providing a coffee value, versatile and low-risk resolution to treat mental diseases. By providing new ways in which to keep the body relaxed and calm, VR additionally helps in treating anxiety and panic attacks. 

VR may be a promising treatment tool as it generates situations and experiences that can't merely be created throughout a conventional clinical setting.


Top Companies Creating Breakthrough Innovations in VR and Healthcare


Immersive Touch

The Chicago-based company creates VR and AR solutions for surgical planning, training, and education. The company's ImmersiveView Surgical Plan platform generates detailed 3D models from patient scans, allowing surgeons to study and collaborate with their team on surgical approaches. Surgeons can use several tools to cut, draw and measure, mimicking a correct procedure.

Echo Pixel

The EchoPixel interactive VR surgical platform helps doctors to spot anatomy of interest and permits them to use the platform's depth data to reinforce detailed medical pictures in a period.

The EchoPixel True 3D uses precise image datasets to provide anatomically correct, patient-specific 3D pictures. The corporation created international news for its 3D graphics of colons that facilitate surgeons' arrangements for surgeries.

Virtually Better

To improve the mental health care system, "Virtually Better" developed various therapies, with the most notable being "exposure therapy." Here, the patient is exposed to an anxiety-causing stimulus in a controlled environment, facilitating faster recovery.

Osso VR 

Osso VR is a surgical VR simulation platform that offers realistic hand-based interactions. The company focuses on practicing with the virtual tools that surgeons use for orthopedic and spine surgeries.

Moreover, the company has developed an interactive platform where multiple surgeons can interact with one another and go through training lessons or practice procedures together.


Wrapping Up

The world of Virtual Reality has been showcasing its capabilities in every sector of society and is not lagging in medicine. If anything, it has helped the medicine sector's graphs skyrocket to success by providing better healthcare to patients. It has not only helped patients but has also made their management easier for medical staff. Students are learning better, and doctors are performing better. Virtual Reality and 3D animation have a vast scope in the future and can completely revolutionize the medical field.