DeepQ, the healthcare division of HTC, yesterday announced a deployment of HTC VIVE™ hardware at Taipei Municipal Wan Fang Hospital to create the first multiuser patient education room in VR. Using VIVE Focus (a stand-alone VR headset from Vive) with the VR human patient education application, surgeons and families can join a shared VR world where surgeons can explain surgical procedures and educate patients.

“Vive Focus can be used as a tool to break down barriers between doctors and their patients to improve care and drive education of patients to new levels,” said Edward Chang, President of HTC’s DeepQ division. “With Vive Focus, medical consultation can become mobile and more approachable to patients and doctors alike. We’re proud to work with Taipei Municipal Wan Fang Hospital to explore how VR can begin to change medicine.”

“In the past, it has been difficult to educate patients on the impacts of a procedure or medical need. Through VR, physicians can now easily talk to patients about human organ structures and treatment plans in a shared environment,” said Kuan-Jen Bai, Dean of Taipei Municipal Wan Fang Hospital.

A typical patient consultation today can involve human anatomy models, however, micro structures such as nerves, vessels, and lymph nodes are difficult to be displayed. Using VR, patients can more easily understand the impact of diagnosis and treatment plans alongside their physicians. 

In the future, Wan Fang Hospital will also integrate the VR education platform with the Health Information System (HIS) system of the hospital’s patient educational review system. After each VR patient education, the public, the family, and healthcare personnel’s review will be digitalised.

According to a market forecast on VR in the healthcare market that was published in March 2018, it is predicted that VR technologies will enjoy a 54.5 percent compound annual growth rate in healthcare over the period of 2017-2023. Currently, most of the established VR offerings in healthcare often fall under a few major use cases, including education and training for physicians, and distraction therapy for inpatients and seniors.

However, ever-advancing technology and growing acceptance by physicians and patients alike has many digital health researchers excited to investigate more novel clinical use cases and tackle the various hurdles that remain for VR.

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