Due to the prolonged Covid-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry, which was traditionally conservative to change and new technologies, has started to implement new technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Recognising the growing importance of VR and AR in healthcare, the FDA published an overview of AR and VR medical devices.
With new medical devices with AR and VR features being incorporated in healthcare, the market for VR and AR products will continue to grow. According to GlobalData, the VR market, worth nearly $7bn in 2018, will be a $28bn industry by 2030, having grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13% over that period. The most recent uses of VR in the healthcare industry are chronic pain treatment and training of healthcare professionals. Furthermore, according to FDA outlines, there is a potential to use the new technology in various other areas such as paediatric diagnostics and treatments, neuropsychological conditions, and mental health. However, the FDA also outlines the potential dangers for companies that deliver medical devices with VR and AR technologies. The potential risks include privacy threats, cybersecurity vulnerabilities, and specific concerns regarding paediatric populations.
Covid-19 has prompted a rapid implementation of new technological advancements into the traditional healthcare industry. Along with telemedicine, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, VR has found its niche in healthcare. However, while there are benefits to the new technologies, all the potential risks that come with them should be properly addressed.