Virtual reality, a technology that began as a next-gen source of entertainment, is now being used to help doctors and surgeons better and more accurately preform their jobs— whether it be in education, pain management or even surgical planning. The future of virtual reality has the potential to advance the quality of medicine to levels unachievable without expensive, invasive procedures.

The power of virtual reality lies in the ability to interact within a controlled visual and auditory environment. This means better education for surgeons and physicians training to be. By simulating an operating environment and superimposing educational material, doctors throughout various fields of medicine now have better understanding and practice of some very complex and delicate procedures.

One of the medical fields seeing benefits from the adoption of virtual reality is the cardiac branch of medicine. With advancements in the technology, doctors are now able to understand intracardiac anatomy and geometry. 3D visualization, a product of VR, can enhance pre-procedural planning for patients with pulmonary aretesia, along with other diseases. The virtual reality visualization speeds up this process by almost 10 minutes compared to traditional methods, helping patients get better results, quickly.

Many aspects of virtual reality can affect the future of medicine. Patient care remains a priority for the utilization of VR. Because of continued innovation, patients now have access to other technologies such as light field and 3D displays, waveguides, and interference-based holography—all products of mixed reality. The future of medicine is bright and changing.

Virtual and augmented reality are changing how doctors can visualize problems that otherwise would require invasive, expensive procedures. Mixed reality medical applications are now beginning to impact and even save lives more frequently around the world.