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VR in Healthcare: Virtually A Reality

By Jeff Arnold, CEO and Chairman

There has been a lot of news over the last few months about the next wave of VR/AR – virtual reality and augmented reality.  While most of the discussion is focused on entertainment applications – like gaming or 4D amusement park rides –  I’m particularly interested about the potential it holds for the healthcare sector.

The impending surge of VR/AR applications in healthcare was evident last week at South by Southwest (SXSW), as the Conference unveiled a track dedicated to the topic. In it, technology thought leaders talked about areas in which VR already is being applied to health, including the treatment of psychological disorders like PTSD, anxiety, autism and other developmental disorders. Additionally, neuroscientists using VR to explore the deep mechanisms of the brain have shown us that – while still nascent in everyday healthcare – VR’s potential in stress reduction, meditation and cognitive behavior therapy is huge.

As VR/AR applications continue to evolve – and costs come down – there lies great potential in using this technology to improve the communications and ultimately the relationship between doctors and patients through visual storytelling. From advanced remote monitoring for patients with chronic illness to making telemedicine consultations truly effective, the possibilities are equal parts exciting and endless.