Health Professionals’ perspectives on Virtual Reality in healthcare

Anna Janssen, Jennifer Fletcher, Naseem Adhampour, Michael Marthick, Melanie Keep, Melissa Brunner, Anika Roof

Background: Research has provided evidence for the effective use of Virtual Reality (VR) for mental health services, pain management, rehabilitation and surgical skills development. Despite the growing interest in VR in healthcare, its implementation as part of routinely delivered care remains a challenge.

Aims: The aim of this study was to understand the barriers and enablers to use of VR in service provision.

Methods: Data was collected via an anonymous online survey between 2019 and 2021. The survey was developed by the researchers to collect data on VR use in health care. It consisted of five demographic questions, twelve structured and Likert style questions and nine open-response questions.

Results: Sixteen health professionals completed the survey. All respondents indicated they had previous experience with VR, but of these only a minority (n=6, 37.50%) indicated that they had used VR in their practice or in the context of health services delivery. The majority of respondents (n=15, 93.75%) felt that VR had value in healthcare. However, respondents identified barriers to using VR in practice including concerns about the time involved using VR in practice (n=7, 43.75%) or setting up the headset (n=6, 37.50%); not having access to organisational infrastructure to use VR (n=10, 62.50%); and not feeling confident using VR in practice (n=7, 43.75%).

Conclusions: Health professionals are interested in using VR to support service delivery, but require infrastructure support and resources to improve their personal confidence for implementing VR with patients.