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Virtual reality technology is no longer just for video games.
Last month, a virtual reality (VR) tool identified Alzheimer’s disease more accurately than existing cognitive tests.
While virtual and augmented reality technologies are still not widely accepted in healthcare, clinical trials have shown that these tools can have a positive impact on patient outcomes — which is what we’re all about.
So what can we as healthcare executives and physicians do to promote VR technology in the healthcare community and potentially implement these technologies into more health systems and practices?
Welcome to The Clinical Divide. I’m Dr. Kevin Campbell. I’m a Duke-trained cardiologist and the chief innovation officer of the health data startup PaceMate and its parent company, biocynetic. Every week, this Inside Digital Health™ video series examines healthcare technology and medicine’s top news. I bring you the views that help physicians and healthcare executives bridge the clinical divide.
In the Alzheimer’s study, researchers from the University of Cambridge found that a VR navigation task had a higher sensitivity and specificity for differentiating those who are biomarker positive with Alzheimer’s, compared to those who were negative.
This study is just the latest to show how the technology can be used in healthcare to improve accuracy and efficiency in diagnosis, which is important for our patients.
VR has also been proven to be helpful for non-opioid-related pain management and to relieve patients with hot flashes.
Another startup, Arena Laboratories, is using VR to train students, residents and staff, helping them prove their performance in stressful operating room clinical situations and in other challenging scenarios in order to provide better care.
As the market for VR in medicine is heating up, we must continue to test the efficacy of these technologies. We must participate in and support trials. As physicians and healthcare executives, we need to be aware of these available tools that can enhance our ability to help patients better than traditional tried and true practices. VR has great potential to be used as a motion management system, for therapy, for surgical planning, navigation training and treatment.
This technology is no longer just for video games. It’s time to continue to evaluate these systems and, when appropriate, implement these systems to manage our patients in new and innovative ways.
Thank you for joining me for this episode of The Clinical Divide. Until next week, I’m Dr. Kevin Campbell, for Inside Digital Health™.
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