While virtual reality (VR) awaits wider adoption in the consumer space, the healthcare industry is blazing medical and business trails with the technology. eMarketer’s Sean Creamer spoke with Dr. Robert Louis, director of skull base and pituitary surgery at Hoag Neurosciences Institute, about how VR improves surgical outcomes and boosts patient retention. Dr. Louis was interviewed as part of eMarketer’s April report, "Virtual Reality Beyond Gaming: Solving Business Problems in Industries."
How has VR changed the way you practice medicine?
We use virtual reality during neurosurgery, but it's actually present throughout the entire patient care continuum. Prior to VR, we never rehearsed surgeries beyond sitting with a cup of coffee in the morning and looking at black-and-white, 2-D MRIs—almost like a flipbook. Now we put on headsets, make a virtual plan and figure out if that plan is going to work.
Using 3-D models, I can rehearse and practice the surgery in the VR space. It allows me to anticipate tumor complications and lower the likelihood of surprises. I can also show the patient exactly what's going on.