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Mon Health Medical Center Using VR for Treating Patients

The Morgantown-based health care company, led by urologist Dr. Jaschar Shakuri-Rad, has been carrying out medical procedures that point out how most patients prefer being somewhere else during surgery 

Using virtual reality (VR) technology, Shakuri-Rad can take patients on virtual trips offering diverse sensory experiences.

VR goggles can be requested by patients who want to be taken to locations that are a stark contrast from the unimaginative and bleak environments of hospitals. VR offers various possibilities to patients, like taking a trip to their most preferred vacation spot, or watching the biggest conquests of their beloved sports teams.

Patients can view art on display, observe falling raindrops, take a stroll down the streets of Morgantown, and explore the West Virginia University-owned Milan Puskar Stadium. Benjamin Gleitzman, a local of Morgantown, and the Chief Technology Officer, Healing Museum, is responsible for the development of the VR technology offerings for patients. The Mon Health Center puts its VR offerings as part of MONA.

Doctors everywhere are turning towards virtual reality technology to effectively control the anxiety faced by their patients nowadays. Patients are also reporting that VR offerings do a good job of distracting them when they are at their most feeble states.

Shakuri-Rad elaborated that technology can take away one’s mind from pain and anxiety. Stating his personal preference, he remarked that he likes VR journeys with accompanying music beats. He also expressed that customisation features such as volume control are important.

VR does not change the quality of care provided, but just gets many senses involved. The result is a patient being able to venture out of the sterile hospital environments. – Shakuri-Rad

Some patients do get nauseous and dizzy following sessions of virtual reality, as findings suggest. The workaround for such situations is tweaking the settings of experiences to match their own conditions and moods. So, the more intense experiences such as rock climbing or adventure sports can be avoided.

News publication The Washington Post, in 2018, reported about VR being used in scenarios like chemotherapy, wound treatments, kidney dialysis, and even childbirth. Whilst VR was considered earlier in the 1990s, the clunky and impractical hardware back then made it quite impractical for medical use. In the decades since then, VR technology has become more financially accessible and hardware more comfortable to use. Prominent health care organisations like Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and Boston’s Children’s Hospital have embraced the technology openly as part of their treatment routines.

Doctors are claiming that the immersive technology form can also be used to reduce opioid overdose problems, by distracting patients from pain. This can entail a reduction in doctors prescribing painkillers, and reduce the conventional dosages.

Theresa McSherry, a nurse practitioner from Portland, Oregon, spoke to The Washington Post on the subject of VR and opioids. She remarked that while technology cannot solve the epidemic, it can bring down medication dependence in the early stages. Pain desensitisation patterns can be taught through VR technology.

According to Shakuri-Rad, patients are always free to choose whether or not they want to undergo VR treatments.




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