Listening to your doctor explain your health problem, especially if it involves complicated-sounding medical terms can be confusing.
Now imagine learning about your health condition through virtual reality.
New technology being developed at the University of Washington’s CoMotion lab is making that possible, giving doctors a virtual “show and tell” explanation of a patient’s illness.
Here’s how it works, a patient’s medical scans are converted into a 3-D model. Then both the doctor and patient put on virtual reality headsets and start exploring.
“This gives them a great tool to use 3-D models to decrease the barrier between the doctor and patient, when they’re explaining things. They can use their hands to reach out and grab their patient’s model. It is really easy to see in great detail, inside of part of the heart,” says Ryan James, co-founder of Pear Med.
James, along with fellow co-founder Mark Laughery have developed this software tool that they hope you’ll have access to at your doctor’s office in the near future.
“My grandfather had a heart condition and he had to have triple by-pass surgery and so if this existed when he had to have that surgery, I would have been able to hold his heart in my hand to actually understand what was going on.”
For a kidney stone that needs to be removed, a patient can see up close where the problem is in their body.
“I wonder how many people know what a kidney stone looks like, or what shape it is, where it’s located. We can reach inside and pull out the kidney stone to really understand what a kidney stone looks like,” says James.
There’s still work to be done, but these researchers hope this new technology will be a welcome prescription for the patient of tomorrow.