Virtual reality (VR) has a fast-growing list of applications in the healthcare field, from patient therapy to medical training, surgical planning and patient education. As part of our April report, "Virtual Reality Beyond Gaming: Solving Business Problems in Industries," eMarketer spoke with four industry leaders who are championing VR in various medical settings about what the technology has done for their organizations—and what's on the horizon.
Training is probably the biggest and most important application, though there are other exciting areas as well. Therapeutic VR is being used to treat pain and anxiety in inpatient settings, and for things like eye conditions and neural rehabilitation. There are also psychological applications of VR for PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], anxiety and phobias.
With medical visualization, patients' CT scans and MRIs can be reconstructed in 3-D and put into VR so they can be used for surgical planning and patient education. And in some experimental applications, like telesurgery, VR is used to remotely operate surgical robots.