How VR Will Cure My Fear Of Wasps

How VR Will Cure My Fear Of Wasps

I’m terrified of wasps. I always have been. I haven’t even been stung and I’m still terrified. Summer arrives and not only am I constantly on the lookout for that flash of black and yellow, but when a wasp does suddenly appear all I can think to do is dash for cover. This makes for very awkward social situations; broken conversations and often broken glasses.

Introducing VR. One of the most established uses of VR treatment in the health sector is for anxiety disorders such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and phobias. With VR you can undergo graded-exposure therapy that is adjusted exactly to what you are in need of, and all from the comfort of your doctor’s office or at home. Fear free summers may not be out of my reach.

Curing a wasp phobia is, however, just the tip of the iceberg for VR in healthcare as more and more avenues are being explored and developed. The Wayback project offers free VR film series and inexpensive headsets designed for those living with dementia and their carers. The films recreate popular, positive moments from the past, such as Coronation Day, allowing those with dementia to belong in and relive happy memories.

This helps patients to maintain a sense of themselves, as well as enabling families and carers to share and connect with those who can often seem hard to reach. The Wayback provides, for what is many, a priceless resource.

VR is also improving education and training in healthcare. For trainee doctors there can seem a huge gap between reading textbooks, attending lectures and watching other doctors on the one hand (not very realistic) and treating real people on the other (a bit too realistic).

Patients don’t want to be the ‘test run’ either. VR is helping to bridge this gap. Surgeons can now practice operations in virtual reality, and simulation companies such as Kognito can prepare doctors to lead critical and life changing conversations.

VR is fast becoming a powerful and indispensable tool in healthcare. I have been guilty in the past of making a basic association between VR and gaming. But VR has been broadening into new markets for a while, and the pace is picking up. This is a powerful, multi-functional and disruptive technology. No matter what industry you are in, VR may be about to disrupt the status quo.

Rachel Ballard Rachel Ballard