Background: Virtual reality can play an important role during the COVID-19 pandemic in the health care sector. This technology has the potential to supplement the traditional in-hospital medical training and treatment, and may increase access to training and therapies in various health care settings. Objective: This systematic review aimed to describe the literature on health care–targeted virtual reality applications during the COVID-19 crisis. Methods: We conducted a systematic search of the literature on the PsycINFO, Web of Science, and MEDLINE databases, according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. The search string was as follows: “[(virtual reality)] AND [(COVID-19) OR (coronavirus) OR (SARS-CoV-2) OR (healthcare)].” Papers published in English after December 2019 in peer-reviewed journals were selected and subjected to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. We used the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool to assess the quality of studies and the risk of bias. Results: Thirty-nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Seventeen studies showed the usefulness of virtual reality during the COVID-19 crisis for reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and promoting physical activity. Twenty-two studies revealed that virtual reality was a helpful learning and training tool during the COVID-19 crisis in several areas, including emergency medicine, nursing, and pediatrics. This technology was also used as an educational tool for increasing public understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic. Different levels of immersion (ie, immersive and desktop virtual reality), types of head-mounted displays (ie, PC-based, mobile, and standalone), and content (ie, 360° videos and photos, virtual environments, virtual reality video games, and embodied virtual agents) have been successfully used. Virtual reality was helpful in both face-to-face and remote trials. Conclusions: Virtual reality has been applied frequently in medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic, with positive effects for treating several health conditions and for medical education and training. Some barriers need to be overcome for the broader adoption of virtual reality in the health care panorama.

Pallavicini, F., Pepe, A., Clerici, M., Mantovani, F. (2022). Virtual Reality Applications in Medicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Systematic Review. JMIR SERIOUS GAMES, 10(4) [10.2196/35000].

Virtual Reality Applications in Medicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Systematic Review

Pallavicini, Federica
;
Pepe, Alessandro;Clerici, Massimo;Mantovani, Fabrizia
2022

Abstract

Background: Virtual reality can play an important role during the COVID-19 pandemic in the health care sector. This technology has the potential to supplement the traditional in-hospital medical training and treatment, and may increase access to training and therapies in various health care settings. Objective: This systematic review aimed to describe the literature on health care–targeted virtual reality applications during the COVID-19 crisis. Methods: We conducted a systematic search of the literature on the PsycINFO, Web of Science, and MEDLINE databases, according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis guidelines. The search string was as follows: “[(virtual reality)] AND [(COVID-19) OR (coronavirus) OR (SARS-CoV-2) OR (healthcare)].” Papers published in English after December 2019 in peer-reviewed journals were selected and subjected to the inclusion and exclusion criteria. We used the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool to assess the quality of studies and the risk of bias. Results: Thirty-nine studies met the inclusion criteria. Seventeen studies showed the usefulness of virtual reality during the COVID-19 crisis for reducing stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and promoting physical activity. Twenty-two studies revealed that virtual reality was a helpful learning and training tool during the COVID-19 crisis in several areas, including emergency medicine, nursing, and pediatrics. This technology was also used as an educational tool for increasing public understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic. Different levels of immersion (ie, immersive and desktop virtual reality), types of head-mounted displays (ie, PC-based, mobile, and standalone), and content (ie, 360° videos and photos, virtual environments, virtual reality video games, and embodied virtual agents) have been successfully used. Virtual reality was helpful in both face-to-face and remote trials. Conclusions: Virtual reality has been applied frequently in medicine during the COVID-19 pandemic, with positive effects for treating several health conditions and for medical education and training. Some barriers need to be overcome for the broader adoption of virtual reality in the health care panorama.
Articolo in rivista - Review Essay
COVID-19; education; medicine; mental health; physical health; training; virtual reality;
English
16-nov-2021
2022
10
4
e35000
open
Pallavicini, F., Pepe, A., Clerici, M., Mantovani, F. (2022). Virtual Reality Applications in Medicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Systematic Review. JMIR SERIOUS GAMES, 10(4) [10.2196/35000].
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