Virtual reality in medical education and clinical care

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Due to the challenges and restrictions posed by COVID-19 pandemic, technology and digital solutions played an important role in the rendering of necessary healthcare services, notably in medical education and clinical care. The aim of this scoping review was to analyze and sum up the most recent developments in Virtual Reality (VR) use for therapeutic care and medical education, with a focus on training medical students and patients. We identified 3743 studies, of which 28 were ultimately selected for the review. The search strategy followed the most recent Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis for scoping review (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines. 11 studies (39.3%) in the field of medical education assessed different domains, such as knowledge, skills, attitudes, confidence, self-efficacy, and empathy. 17 studies (60.7%) focused on clinical care, particularly in the areas of mental health, and rehabilitation. Among these, 13 studies also investigated user experiences and feasibility in addition to clinical outcomes. Overall, the findings of our review reported considerable improvements in terms of medical education and clinical care. VR systems were also found to be safe, engaging, and beneficial by the studies’ participants. There were huge variations in studies with respect to the study designs, VR contents, devices, evaluation methods, and treatment periods. In the future, studies may focus on creating definitive guidelines that can help in improving patient care further. Hence, there is an urgent need for researchers to collaborate with the VR industry and healthcare professionals to foster a better understanding of contents and simulation development.

Full text: Dhar E, Upadhyay U, Huang Y, Uddin M, Manias G, Kyriazis D, Wajid U, AlShawaf H, Syed Abdul S. A scoping review to assess the effects of virtual reality in medical education and clinical care. Digit Health. 2023 Feb 26;9:20552076231158022. doi: 10.1177/20552076231158022. PMID: 36865772; PMCID: PMC9972057

Keywords: Virtual reality; clinical care; healthcare; medical education; treatment.