Tufts Medical Center to use virtual reality to ease patient anxiety before surgery

Tufts Medical Center is turning to virtual reality to help ease patients' anxiety before a major procedure.

The technology allows patients to see a 360-degree view of the surroundings at the hospital before they even make an appointment. It allows them to be more familiar with the facility before they even set foot inside, Carey Kimmelstiel, director of the Interventional Cardiology Center at Tufts, tells Boston Magazine.

The system is still in the planning stages, but doctors at Tufts also want it to help with patient education. It will allow them to use VR to show consent before a procedure, introduce the patient to those who will be involved in the surgery and explain what tools will be used, according to the article.

"It's a work in progress, but the technology is truly astounding," Kimmelstiel says. "When you're using it, you're not limited to a screenshot--you can really get a feel for the space. We'll be able to tell hesitant patients, 'Go home at your leisure, take a look at this, and think about questions you might not have thought to ask earlier.'"

Virtual reality is slowly growing in use at medical centers for many different reasons. For example, a new simulation program, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneer Portfolio program, will allow physicians to participate in interactive role play using VR to help reduce antibiotic overuse.

In addition, at Nicklaus Children's Hospital the tech is being used to train employees on procedures that include cardiopulmonary resuscitation, nasal gastric tube insertion, starting an IV, wound care and more, FierceHealthIT previously reported.

To learn more:
- here's the article