Video game technology can innovate the medical industry

Photo courtesy of Bram Van Oost, via Unsplash

By Joel Ayala

 Functional fixedness is a term used to describe a type of cognitive bias that blocks people’s ability to use an object for something other than its intended purpose. For many people the first thoughts that come to mind when hearing the word gaming is their favorite video game like Super Mario Bros, Pokemon, Donkey Kong, Legend of Zelda etc. Many of us would not think to connect gaming with the medical industry because many of us only see gaming as a source of entertainment. However gaming has started to weave its way into the medical field and has been linked to improving medical care. Gaming technology has recently been providing innovation to surgery, therapy, and medical consultation. 

     Justin Barad is a surgeon and the founder of Osso VR program. Osso VR was founded in 2016 in the city of Millbrae, California. Osso VR program gives medical device companies and healthcare professionals radically better ways to share, practice and learn new skills and procedures using virtual reality.  

According to the Washington Post, “Osso VR is 230 percent more efficient than traditional training methods.” Osso VR has proven that it can effectively train new surgeons on perfecting their skills while performing surgery. This program can also be used to sharpen skills for different situations that a surgeon might encounter during an intense situation. With the power of virtual reality and enhanced graphics, trainees can get a more realistic feel of how to succeed in their field. 

     Virtual reality has also started to make its way into the therapy section of the medical field. Virtual reality therapy is an enhanced version of exposure therapy that aims to help decrease the intensity of the stress responses you might have to situations, thoughts, or memories which provoke anxiety or fears. This type of therapy works by mimicking any stimuli, stressors, or fears a patient may have and exposing it to them through a realistic environment or simulation through virtual reality. 

This treatment is being used to treat anxiety, PTSD, phobias, and depression. According to Evidence-Based Behavioral Practice, “About 60 to 90 percent of people have either no symptoms or mild symptoms of their original disorder after completing their exposure therapy”.

     Bruce Daniel is a professor of radiology and bioengineering at Stanford University. Professor Daniel believes that medicine and medical care are not being delivered in the most efficient way possible. When making technological advancements to try and help the medical industry one of the biggest problems they encounter is the cost to maintain these new equipment. This is where Professor Daniels sees a place for gaming technology in medicine.  It’s not easy to just throw in new technology and expect physicians to start adapting when they have ingrained traditional methods into their brains. However Professor Danel has seen that many physicians are willing to continue to adopt new ideas and technology to avoid having to make a heartbreaking conversation with the patients’ loved ones. 

Gaming technology has been showing promising results in the medical industry by innovating current training, medical procedures, and therapy. This technology has started to grow in popularity due to its positive results. The cost efficiency of these products is also one of the factors that makes this technology so attractive to the medical industry.  In today’s modern world all we hope for is the products we purchase to be efficient and affordable. By finding a new purpose for video game technology it can only make you wonder how other technology and ideas can be used to innovate other job fields in our modern world.