Virtual Reality Redefines Prospects in Healthcare Applications

By Shruti Vanjare

Primarily customized for medical education, the adoption of virtual reality (VR) has enabled healthcare professionals and patients to interact with simulated environments. Estimates suggest the global VR in healthcare market will grow at a CAGR of 30.62% during the forecast years, 2022 to 2030. The market’s notable growth is propelled by the increasing use of VR for training purposes, the rising aging population, and the surge in VR-based start-ups like MindMaze, zSpace, Vicarious Surgical, and Firsthand, among others

Prevalence of VR in Healthcare: Statistics and Growth Analysis

According to research, healthcare is expected to be one of the leading adopters of VR technology. Almost 82% of experts in the medical industry assert that virtual reality creates a convenient approach to learning for practicing students and professionals alike. Likewise, 62% of patients were reported to accept virtual reality healthcare services as an alternative to traditional medical management.

The prevalence of virtual reality in healthcare is reflected in the growing product innovation, key applications in technology, and interference from end-users. Moreover, the adoption of hardware and software as VR-based components plays an essential role in the market. As the leading end-user, the hospitals & clinics segment is set to grow with the highest CAGR. In addition, projectors and displays are set to represent the most widely-adopted form of technology during the forecast years.

Leading contributors to the market, including General Electric, Alphabet Inc (Google), Sony Corporation, and others, aim to expand their global reach by employing comprehensive strategies. These include partnerships & collaborations, and joint ventures with well-established organizations and end-users in the market. For instance, the United States government is encouraging major companies such as Philips Healthcare to build solid research and development bases in VR, thus driving the regional market growth in North America.

Market by Application & Advances of VR in Healthcare

The architecture of VR applications in the healthcare industry primarily depends on their adoption in medical facilities, educational centers, and surgical fields. In this regard, applications, such as dentistry, autism treatment, and phobia treatment, are gradually being explored, thus generating lucrative opportunities for the market.

  • Surgical Planning – In 2021, the global VR in healthcare market by surgical planning contributed nearly 81% of the market’s share. The segment’s significant adoption is accredited to the fact that VR assists surgeons in the pre-operative planning of surgeries by delivering an enhanced view of the complex human body anatomy.
  • Behavioral Neurology/Rehabilitation – As per Inkwood Research, the behavioral neurology/rehabilitation segment is set to grow with a CAGR of 29.05% during the forecast years. The segment’s growth is primarily fuelled by the introduction of various platforms and subsequent innovations. For example, CleVR is a platform that uses virtual reality technology for the management of animated social situations for patient treatment.


  • Pain Management As one of the most common VR-based applications, pain management captured a revenue share of 13% in 2021. For instance, in North America, pain management is an alarmingly increasing healthcare concern, given that an estimated 100 million adults in the United States suffer from chronic pain. Since VR-based therapies are used to overcome addiction to opioids and facilitate pain management, the North America VR in healthcare market is set to foresee substantial growth prospects.

VR Medical Education & Training – Future Prospects

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), the expenditure on healthcare globally more than doubled over the last 20 years. This is primarily accredited to the rise in government spending, particularly in upper-middle and high-income countries. Hence, the growth in medical expenditure is set to generate opportunities like the introduction and upgradation of VR-based technologies for education and training in healthcare.

By practicing in a VR-3D environment, employees can modify their skills and start the job with a near-perfect command, thus providing the global VR in healthcare market with numerous growth prospects.

Key developments by leading players in VR for medical training include:

  • Embodied Labs, a brand specializing in Immersive Educational Technologies, incorporates virtual reality software to teach caretakers.
  • Floreo provides an optimum platform, Floreo VR, for people and children with autism, utilizing virtual reality to educate linguistic, behavioral, social, and motor abilities.
  • Surgical Theater aids surgeons in improving their pre-operative planning. For example, if a patient is scheduled for a brain tumor operation, surgeons can view the procedure’s virtual reality simulation.

However, these opportunities can advance further primarily with the presence of skilled professionals. Hence, in order to overcome the shortage of experienced personnel in healthcare centers, workforce planning and active partnerships from the tertiary education sector as well as other national bodies are pivotal.



What is the role of research laboratories in the global VR in healthcare market?

The rising use of VR in research laboratories for monitoring experiments and enabling medical researchers to practice protocols in a virtual environment is expected to bolster the demand for VR technologies for research laboratories.

State a key example of VR-based hardware for surgeries and rehabilitation.

MindMotion Pro by MindMaze is a VR-based neuro-rehabilitation device developed as a bedside mirror therapy for partially paralyzed patients. It offers intensive therapeutic training on evidence-based motor rehabilitation treatment practices.