Virtual reality has seen a rise in use by the healthcare industry and recently, South Korea`s Samsung Electronics Co., Gangnam Severance Hospital and FNI Co.( a virtual-reality software company) have signed a memorandum for the development of a VR-based healthcare technology.
This collaboration will be aimed at developing a professional and systematic medical program related to mental health such as psychological diagnosis, cognitive behavior therapy research, treatment and education; the main purpose of this project is firstly to reduce the rising suicide rate from South Korea and to diagnose and treat mental illness.
It is said that this product will be available on the market by next year and used in schools, hospitals and centres for mental health. A combination of the Gear VR headset, S Health app, Gear S3 smartwatch and AI(artificial intelligence)-based virtual assistant Bixby will be used to develop diagnosis kits and other physical products.
Using VR to improve wellness is nothing new, some obvious examples of this fact being Yonsei University Gangnam Severance Hospital, which has been having a VR clinic since 12 years ago and FNI, which has been helping people quite smoking and end addictions to gaming through VR content since 2006; but this development will be the first VR experience made to specifically address mental health diognisis and suicide prevention.
Even though much of the focus around VR has been on gaming and entertainment uses, it is a great thing that it could actually help in the case of mental health issues and if everything works out well, this product will also reach homes. The Samsung Gear VR headset would normally make the patients feel a lot better and even relieve loneliness and isloation.
At the moment, it is not really clear yet whether these products will have an accessible price tag or not. Hopefully, they will be affordable enough to be purchased by more hospitals.
“Medical technology using virtual reality presents new alternatives to various psychological therapy and education. We expect this agreement to provide more sophisticated medical services by developing more professional psychological therapy and prevention programs.”, synthesized Kim Jae-Jin, a deputy director at Gangnam Severance Hospital.