Caregivers' Growing Focus On Improving Patient Experience & Reducing Operating Costs to Drive Demand for Virtual Reality in Healthcare

The global market for Virtual Reality (VR) in Healthcare is projected to reach US$4.7 billion by 2024, driven by growing focus on economical alternatives for medical training and rehabilitation by hospitals and expanding applications across diverse medical disciplines, in addition to increasing affordability of virtual reality systems

Virtual Reality (VR) is a visual simulation technology that offers the user with an advanced tool to experience events, and act in a complete virtual environment similar to the real world. Virtual reality holds a promising potential in healthcare applications. The technology is used in various areas including education and training, assisted surgery, clinical programs, 3D printing, and rehabilitation and therapy. The technology finds application in simulation of surgery, for treatment of phobias, and to make easy the diagnosis process. There is growing evidence that VR technology is a useful platform for a variety of clinical applications and health conditions, including physical rehabilitation, pain management, and treating post-traumatic stress and anxiety disorders and neurological conditions.

Developments including declining prices, enhanced technology and ongoing research efforts are expected to not only increase the significance of virtual reality in the healthcare sector, but also deliver considerable value to patients. With hospitals and medical institutions mired with constrained budgets and optimization of costs, Virtual Reality simulators are finding increased adoption in surgical training programs with conceivable bene?ts of reducing the cost of workplace training and reducing the learning curve. The technology is anticipated to play a crucial role in alleviating the cost of medical care, and enhance patient outcomes. Various healthcare solutions are increasingly integrating VR to enhance results as well as experience of patients. VR has emerged as a safe, cost-effective, engaging, and sophisticated training and assessment tool for healthcare professionals including surgeons, physicians, nurses, dentists, counselors, and paramedics. VR based surgical tools deliver lucrative and efficient training environment to facilitate trainees to develop their surgical skills. Against the backdrop of growing demand for robotic surgery and the resulting need for skills training and assessment tools for robotic surgery, Virtual Reality simulators for surgical robots are growing in prominence.

Virtual Reality is fast becoming one of the established forms of medical treatment for phobias. Graded-exposure therapy is the typical method to treat phobias, wherein the therapist slowly and gradually introduces the patient to his or her object of fear, be it heights, spiders or even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). VR is also being used in combination with telemedicine for remote surgery. While VR is mostly applied in computer-assisted and robot-assisted surgeries, other areas of VR applications include medical imaging 3D/4D image reconstruction, virtual colonoscopy, multi-modality image fusion, pre-operative surgical planning, medical data visualization, Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET), virtual surgical simulation and cognitive and physical rehabilitation.

The United States represents the largest market worldwide. Asia-Pacific is projected to emerge as the fastest growing market with a CAGR of 21.8% over the analysis period, led by an improving healthcare infrastructure and increasing investments by leading players in the region.

Major players in the market include 5DT (Fifth Dimension Technologies), CAE Healthcare, Firsthand Technology, EON Reality, GE Healthcare, Intuitive Surgical, Inc., Medtronic, Inc., Mimic Technologies Inc., Philips Healthcare, Siemens Healthcare, Surgical Science Sweden AB, Virtually Better, Inc., Vital Images, Inc., Vuzix Corporation, and WorldViz, LLC.

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