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How virtual reality is improving healthcare 

There have been many wonderful developments in technology over recent years, one of the most magical of which is the virtual reality technology revolution. 

How virtual reality works

Virtual reality works by deceiving the brain into believing you are in a 3D world. It immerses users by stimulating up to four of your five senses – This could include touch, vision, smell or hearing. 

Virtual reality or VR, is changing the way that we game, shop, test and educate ourselves. It is being used to develop industries such as healthcare, education, transport, mental health and even utilities.

How is the utilities sector using VR to assess training needs? 

Steve Havvas, the Virtual Reality Programme Manager for Anglican Water, has developed a pilot scheme to enhance the way in which this water provider trains and assesses staff. 

In an interview with Salford ONECPD, he said: “The advantage of VR is that it is remote, it is mobile and it is interactive. I can deliver training to 1,000 people in a day if I wanted to.”

The bespoke training package that Steve has developed for Anglican Water covers a range of health and safety topics. 

“The first thing we start with is 360 degree drone footage which has a real wow factor. We then move to a driving simulator with 360 degrees of footage where we work on identifying hazards, whether that’s blind spots or hazards in the road.”

“We also have a 360 degree crash simulator so people can experience what it is like to be in an accident. On the safe dig simulator we can see what happens when things go wrong, we can replicate an explosion that would happen if we were to cut through a gas pipe for example.”

“It’s very realistic, the stuff we use is all real footage and we use live pictures from sites.”

“The feedback we’ve had so far has been very positive. The thing about VR is you are fully immersed and because everyone is involved in the same scenario at the same time the engagement with the material is very good.”

After assessment is complete, the data that is collected from this VR programme can then be used to identify trends and highlight specific training needs for users. This development is helping to set the standard for modern corporate training techniques across all industries. 

“People can be afraid to use new technology or invest in new technology until someone else does. We’ve all got the same goals and it would be nice for the industry to work collaboratively, if we all used the same common platform they we could deliver the same standard of training.”

Discover CPD course and conferences on health and social care here

Can virtual reality be dangerous?

VR has been known to cause disorientation and make users feel dizzy or sick after prolonged use. Because of this, it is recommended that users gradually introduce themselves to virtual reality technology and ensure that the area in which they operate their headset is clear of potential hazards. 

How virtual reality is improving healthcare

An area where virtual reality is having a big impact is medical simulation training in the healthcare sector. This is helping aspiring doctors, physicians and surgeons to practice procedures in a realistic scenario before facing the real thing. 

Even more interestingly, VR is also being used for pain management for those experiencing painful procedures or “phantom pains” in amputated limbs. 

Research has found that if the parts of the brain that are linked to feeling the sensation of pain are engaged then the patient will be more able to manage discomfort due to being immersed in the virtual world.

Physical therapy is another area where healthcare services are beginning to use VR. The ability to track body movement and help patients to complete their sessions by using challenges such as catching a virtual ball have proven to be very effective. 

Mental health is not exempt from the virtual reality revolution either. Virtual reality has been used to assist patients in both cognitive rehabilitation and exposure therapy in the treatment of phobias.

If you would like to learn more about how the NHS is changing to harness technology so that we can do more with less, click here to learn more about The Future of NHS Procurement conference

Should we be excited about virtual reality?

The undeniable answer to this is YES! 

Virtual reality has the capacity to modernise the way that we approach healthcare and executive training across all sectors. This immersive technology has already made a lot of progress for a variety of sectors, so it is worth investigating how you can integrate this into your business development plans so you aren’t left behind. 

See for more information.

Twitter: @SalfordUni_SPD

Facebook: @SalfordProfessionalDevelopment


August LTD
Grahame Gardner
Mr Trax Curtain & Blind Solutions
Inspired Inspirations
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