Mar 20, 2024
min read

Revolutionizing Patient Care: Virtual Reality in Healthcare

Get a quick understanding of how virtual reality could transform the healthcare industry landscape in a few years.

Healthcare is among the top 3 spheres to adopt VR innovations, with a market size of above $3 billion in 2023. Impressive, right? But it’s not the most curious thing about VR in healthcare.

Moreover, these numbers are expected to grow even further. By 2030, they may multiply around 8 times, reaching more than $25 billion of market size. Be it a coincidence or not, healthcare is ahead of many other spheres in implementing VR.

In fact, there are a plethora of practical reasons under the table. For example, healthcare accumulates enough resources to sponsor the innovations, since the development and deployment of new gear and software is pricey.

At the same time, healthcare’s ROI is high enough, compared to other industries. That convinces investors and start-uppers to prefer healthcare enterprises to other ventures.

However, some of those reasons are in the plain of social value. Since healthcare is relevant for all people, early adoption of VR tools may bring some perks to investors beyond revenues.

In this material, we’ve overviewed where traditional healthcare approaches and state-of-the-art VR technologies collide. From the perspective of a VR developer team, we collected the most promising use cases of virtual reality in healthcare for you to ideate and reinforce your products and services in the upcoming years.

Keep your finger on the pulse and let’s jump right in.

How Is Virtual Reality Used In Healthcare?

While we were gathering the news and releases, it turned out that there had been masses of VR-based startups in healthcare. Hence, we’ve decided to group them according to their usage, starting from outpatient and specialized care to education and rehab. Let’s look at them closer.

Education and Visualization

The plainest VR objective is to enlighten, rethinking interactions and aiding with hints and pop-ups. However, it’s not the only ace in the hole. Read further to learn more.

Surgery Monitoring, Training, and Planning

Surgery is an arduous trade to train, so VR in healthcare is a nice chance to remove the complexities from it. VR benefits the trainee surgeons to hone their skills and get a hand in sophisticated procedures. As reported by UConn Health, an orthopedics surgery training center, the practitioners learn 570% faster than those who studied traditionally.

Next, George Washington University applies VR tech to explore patients before neurosurgery and thoracic surgery operations. It’s a win-win solution, as doctors become more situation-aware, while the patients gain a better grasp of the treatment. As a result, both parties grow in confidence and perform better.


Doctors tend to dive into the patient's case details to select the best-case option. Even so, they are prone to emotional burn-out and callousness with time. VR in healthcare industry comes to save the day here too.

As a matter of fact, doctors can try on various conditions and states, simulated by VR to feel the experiences and pains that their patients are going through. Namely, migraine headaches, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson's diseases ‒ there is no boundary to recreate the patient’s experience, special care needs, and emotional conditions.

Furthermore, training empathy through VR is crucial for leveraging elderly care. Personnel can test how people with limited vision and hearing abilities perceive the world and be more attentive, caring, and emphatic.

In dental care, this approach works fine too in educating patients about both the treatment and principles of oral hygiene. Some apps allow therapy techniques training in virtual reality before dentists start practicing.

Anatomy Visualization

Old times with hand-illustrated pictures in anatomy studies tomes have been far bygone. Instead, medical students use hyperrealistic and interactive 3D anatomy atlases, rotating, scaling, and layering the structures to their wants.

Moreover, except for educational purposes the visualizations can be used as presentational material in conferences, concilium, and surgery planning. By reducing the complexities of perception and imagination with virtual reality and healthcare gadgets, medical concepts become clearer and more accessible to more people.


This block of VR alternatives addresses the use of VR-based software proving exercising and testing for various therapy styles. Read further to learn.

Physical Training

When it comes to physical rehabilitation, the use of virtual reality in healthcare is proven as a must-have. The idea is to use headsets for interactive instructions to train muscles and restore mobility.

Moreover, gamification grants extra features for the patients, boosting motivation and enhancing the results, while the therapists tailor the settings according to the patient’s special needs. For example, if some exercise brings too much pain, a therapist could adjust it lower.

Brain And Cognitive Therapy

VR also is effective in dealing with the majority of the damaged nerves and nervous conductivity after diseases and injuries. For example, MindMaze restores motor skills, helping stroke patients recover and restore fine and gross motor skills, while other apps are aimed at training balance, coordination, etc.

The same approach works for almost all neurological illnesses. For example, Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative disease that has no cure. VR in healthcare for Alzheimer’s slows the brain’s atrophy and bends the treatment from palliative to supportive, making it crucial for people’s meaningful lives.

Moreover, Parkinson’s disease, currently incurable, is not an exception. VR-based training improves balance skills and fights recession here too. For this purpose, the Wayback app recreates positive memories and stimulates conversations. Along with traditional cognitive therapy, it makes a solid shield to battle the dementia effects and save family relations.

Other VR-based startups like Mynd Immersive or Rendever are used to help all older adults improve their cognitive functions, including attention, memory, and balance. According to the latest studies, the effect is quite impressive. With the forecasts of an increased senior population in the future, the apps are assured to be future-proof.

Pain Relief

Chronic pain syndrome chases many people suffering from cancer, chronic diseases, and even migraines. Indeed, we learned the mechanisms of how nerves react to stimuli, resulting in pain. However, conservative treatment, like drugs and physical therapy, is not always helpful or applicable. That’s the point where VR comes in.

To fight pain-related issues, virtual reality for healthcare, particularly VR analgesia, is not just a high-tech distraction therapy method. It immerses the patient in a relaxing, soothing, and interactive environment. It helps to occupy the attention, leaving no room for pain completely.

An example of such an approach is AppliedVR, treating chronic pain without excessive surgery and risks of opioid addiction. While you’re swimming with dolphins in virtual reality, the pain naturally goes away. That’s why, used at home or in a hospital, it has delivered stunning results from the beginning of development in 2017.

The same approach with VR could be applied to women in labor, ensuring more comfort and killing excessive pain. With less pain, the hormone influx stabilizes, ensuring easier childbirth in general.

Mental Health

Since VR was initially a part of the entertainment industry, it’s widely used to captivate users. One only distinction is that the software is not based on games but on tailored training programs.

Psychological Help

Nowadays, apps for mental health, meditation, and mindfulness, like Calm, Headspace, etc., are very popular. They combat anxiety, phobias, flashbacks, nightmares, and altered perception effectively. The same approaches lie in the use of virtual reality in healthcare, gamifying and habituating healthy psychological lifestyles.

A technology like Amelia, former Psious, by XRHealth, will provide more than 100 VR environments to grapple with phobias and attain new skills like public speaking. Amelia softly immerses the patient into the realistic setting, while tutors guide the session. There, you can climb a skyscraper, fly a plane, and face awkward social situations — everything is pretty safe and controllable to overcome the fear.

Other apps, Tripp and Innerworld offer a relaxing VR experience including meditations and a place for mindfulness. They help to combat phobias, postpartum depression, PTSD, etc.

Social Skills and Addictions

In their battle against addiction, every addict needs the most forceful tools available. With VR, patients receive support at every turn with the innermost force they need to maintain sobriety for the rest of their lives. The same approach as offered by Amelia, the doctors apply to fight addictions.

Furthermore, virtual reality in healthcare is crucial for neurodivergent people. For those with autism, virtual reality can generate social scenarios that offer opportunities for social skill practice and development. A variety of interactive lessons are available on the VR platform Floreo to assist users in navigating plenty of social settings.

FDA has classified VR like Floreo as a breakthrough tool for neurodiverse students of all ages and skill levels since the app is handy in many spheres: education, therapy, and even at home.

Children-friendly Care

Virtual reality healthcare solutions also divert kids' attention from the discomfort of medical procedures like blood tests, vaccinations, and others.

Young patients manage their anxiety and fears more readily when VR goggles bring them to a completely different world for play. Hence, gamification and immersion are the roots of the CHARIOT program, which stands for Childhood Anxiety Reduction via Innovation and Technology, and many more.

Furthermore, the Starlight Children's Foundation has introduced yet another initiative that is affecting the childcare industry. As hospitals can be distressing for kids, the foundation tries to make them a cozy adventure rather than a scary experience.

Remote Services

Last but not least use of virtual reality in healthcare is informational. Whether it connects doctors and patients or patients and clinics, the idea is to reach online any place.

Virtual Hospital Tours

For example, to help patients feel more at ease and less anxious before a visit or operation, Boston Children's Hospital has created a virtual reality software called "Boston Children's Hospital MyWay."

In the same way, some maternity homes offer VR tours for women to choose them for childbirth. Especially, this feature is valuable for medical tourism, saving tons of time and effort to pick the specific clinic for treatment.


In the post-pandemic world, telemedicine is not something unusual. However, online consultations using VR, such as those provided by XRHealth, let medical practitioners diagnose and treat patients at a distance, increasing access to care and cutting expenses.

If you want to take a consultation, just choose your doctor and put on your VR goggles to get a health-related consultation even in the remote parts of the world.

Final Thoughts

On one hand, the future of virtual reality in healthcare is bright. Therapeutic gaming is a breakthrough, indeed. The lives of incurable patients, doctors in training, and seniors have become easier in an instant. The surgery becomes more accurate, the rehabilitation periods shrink, and the people get free from pain.

On the other, improvements are to be made. Unfortunately, the use of VR sets is relatively low, and the apps are scarce due to the lack of testing and research. There should be more time to adapt training programs to fit the use of tech.

However, we still think that there is a silver lining in every cloud. And in 10 years the presence of VR goggles in clinics and hospitals will be considered usual. We hope that the development climate won’t change, ensuring skyrocketing results.

Dmytro Dzandzava
Delivery Manager
Never get behind of the latest uni news.
Subscribe to news
Latest blog posts
work with us:
Let's devise a plan and make a real impact. Let's make it big!
Back to top