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Doctor with virtual reality headset

VR Industry Projects a $285 Million Value in Healthcare by 2022

Where can VR take healthcare? The short of it, anywhere. Currently virtual reality is involved in millions of dollars’ worth of medical based research. These studies range from health professional training to patient therapies. ABI Research, a technology market intelligence company, forecasts VR healthcare will explode in value from $8.9 million in 2017 to $285 million in 2022. Yes, $285 million in only 5 years. Increased interest and investment in healthcare VR utilization has professionals, hospitals and rehabilitation programs studying medical VR training implementation and creating new, possibly life changing applications to treat patients.

Global Funding Used for Revolutionary Training

8VC, a US venture capital firm, just funded London-based Tough Surgery to the tune of 20 million dollars. In total Touch Surgery has raised 30 million in research and development funds to create a headset that will give medial students and trainees live video feed of a professional surgeon performing their craft. While immersed in this virtual surgery, students have step by step instructions and a virtual guide. Think of the possibilities! The hours of “hands-on” training medical students and professionals could participate in, all with minimal risk to patients, alleviating expensive resources, and increased exposure to “real world” healthcare simulation. Exposure to patient experience is also being explored with VR technology. Embodied Labs created “We Are Alfred”, a VR experience lasting 7 minutes. During this short time, you are immersed in the life of 74 year old male Alfred. It takes the viewer through different scenarios, utilizing common elderly conditions like macular degeneration and hearing loss to help erase the disconnect of elderly patients and their often younger physicians.

FDA Approved VR Medical Uses

Out in Stanford, CA, SyncThink Inc. has developed the VR simulation program Eye-Sync. Approved by the FDA, Eye-Sync assist physicians diagnose traumatic brain injuries and concussions. When VR goggles are placed on the patients face, eye movement and any visual tracking impairments are recorded, viewed, and analyzed, all within 60 seconds. Complete objective assessment of concussions could revolutionize professional, college and high school treatment of TBI related sport injuries. Another FDA approved VR therapy is MindMaze’s MindMotion. This Swiss based company has joined neuroscience and physical movement to create an early stroke rehabilitation tool. According to MindMaze CEO Tej Tadi. This device is the first thing they see when they come out of surgery or acute care. This is the first device that’s going to help accelerate their recovery. We have of course commercialized it in Europe and now the FDA clearance lets us bring this to the United States.”

 

Outside of acute medical therapies. Kortex VR program, created by Fisher Wallace Labs, has been scientifically and clinically validated to be used in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and depression all with in the comforts of own home, no prescription required. Kortex already has the ability to attach to the Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream, Oculus, Vive and the ZEISS VR ONE Plus. ABI Research VR industry analyst Kin Sandi Lynn stated, “Non-medical therapeutic applications which usually don’t require strict regulations compared to medical therapies are growing in the consumer segment too. VR applications such as smoke cessation, sleep management, stress management, and memory improvement for the elderly are increasingly used by consumers for their general health.”

Kortex head strap with Oculus VR headset

Virtual Reality in healthcare could greatly influence the medical industry over the coming years. With astronomical research fund forecasts and already established therapies assisting patients today, VR is establishing a strong foundation in global medical training and patient focused therapies.

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