Virtual Reality in the Health Care


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While Virtual Reality has been around for many years, in the past decade it was most commonly associated with gaming. The introduction of Google Cardboard put Virtual Reality into the mainstream conversation and highlighted the many technological advances and applications available today. From military training to aeronautics, from virtual museum visits to driver education, the future applications of this developing technology are endless.

Health care VR applications can increase the quality of care and revolutionize the industry. Current innovative VR uses include: surgery simulators for training new doctors, distraction for patients during a painful procedure, quality of life experiences for children in the hospital, and assistive physical therapy for stroke patients. VR can provide a multitude of exciting solutions in a health care setting. Similarly, it can help provide many unique ways to increase the effectiveness, cost and speed of health care market research.

Traditional in-person focus groups provide researchers and analysts with a depth of information not found through surveys; eye movements, facial expressions and body language are just a few of the cues researchers can use to obtain a complete picture of a person’s opinions and feelings about a particular product or situation.

However, in the field of health care, in-person focus groups can be difficult to convene as doctor and administrator schedules are packed, and patients are often ill or have mobility issues. VR applications in health care market research enable doctors, other health care workers, and patients to participate without travel expenses, spreading illness, or excessive time commitments.

For a healthcare company with low patient attendance at post-operative appointments, VR research benefits both the patient and the doctor. Barriers such as mobility, pain management, transportation, understanding of the need for the appointment, and time off work often prevent patients from keeping scheduled visits. In this case, the Brand X research team can test in-home virtual appointments to determine if patients are more likely to “attend” their post-op visit if they are able to do so from the comfort of their home. Researchers are able to gather information during the visit and gain insight from both the doctor and patient after the appointment. Ultimate surgical outcomes are then compared against post-op appointment participation to determine if the availability of a virtual doctor visit has a positive impact on surgical outcomes.

Advances in VR leave not only health care, but also health care market research poised for great growth. However, VR research is not without its risk. Many VR applications require headgear and can be a first experience for many respondents. At Brand X, we help clients navigate the benefits and pitfalls of emerging technologies to ensure that research is accurate, in-depth, cost effective, and innovative. Contact us to find out how we can help you choose the right technology to clearly understand the habits and behaviors of your female consumer.

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