Five factors influencing VR’s meteoric rise in healthcare
It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the healthcare sector has been developing at a significant rate in the past few years, with healthcare organisations embracing the digital revolution and changing the way they work.
Among the technologies already playing a significant role is virtual reality (VR), and it is projected to generate powerful growth opportunities in the healthcare segment across the globe – with Europe itself set to become a global leader.
A report by European research firm Ecorys, for example, projects that by 2020 the production value of both VR and AR will increase between €15 billion and €34 billion in Europe and create between 225,000 to 480,000 direct and indirect new jobs across the continent.
Such a significant uplift would make Europe’s VR and AR market first-in-class, according to the report.
There are five factors encouraging the growth of VR in the healthcare market, says market analyst Pragati Pathrotkar, in a piece in CMFE News this week.
These comprise increased penetration of connected devices in the healthcare sector; an increasing level of tech investment in the sector; a growing need to reduce high costs in the sector (itself likely to boost the demand for innovative techniques, thus driving the global market); a high demand for VR and AR in several developing markets and the growing use of VR for fitness management.
“For well over a year now people have talked about the exciting potential of virtual reality in numerous corners of the healthcare industry, from teaching students, to assisting procedures, to treating mental illnesses,” Newsman editor, Jon Anderson, comments in a related article this week. “For the most part though – like early experiences in VR gaming – these have simply been ideas […] We’re now starting to get a clearer picture of how VR will soon be transforming so much of the healthcare industry.”
He refers to VR’s capacity “to educate healthcare practitioners, train medical students as well as patients in therapeutic procedures, help surgeons to visualise operating areas closely, and even make image-guided surgeries more efficient,” all mentioned in another report, also by Pathrotkar.
“If we think of these steps the same way we think of the earliest games and other experiences in VR, and then imagine ordinary trajectory, the future looks incredibly exciting […..] If this particular branch of VR tech grows as rapidly as gaming has, we’re in for a whole new range of exciting treatments, educational tools, and other applications in a matter of years.”
However, as Pathrotkar points out, a general lack of expertise among medical practitioners, coupled by a lack of competence in the deployment of the VR and AR solutions may hamper the growth of this market.