Columbus, OH – The importance of preventive care cannot be understated, yet millions of Americans choose not to follow the recommended guidelines. While lack of motivation and neglect are likely not the only factors to blame, they may soon be able to get a boost with new technology.
Could virtual reality (VR) and experiencing potential consequences help motivate us seek preventive care?
I think it could. Last week, we related VR to empathy with the example of a VR film that lets you experience blindness. Other recent developments let users experience certain disease states and observe health procedures remotely.
Virtual reality doesn’t only offer new ways to learn about diseases, but it can also allow us better imagine our future. If we get the chance to see ourselves in later stages in life by looking in a “virtual mirror,” it could possibly motivate to change behavior and make better health decisions.
Examples of recent VR experiments include whether seeing an older version of yourself would motivate to save for retirement (which it did), and interactively showing you what it would feel like to live as a 74 year-old with audio and visual impairments.
Why It Matters
While people live much longer than they used to, many individuals aren’t able to enjoy the quality of life as much due to chronic conditions and other limitations that resulted from unhealthy behavior. As we all know, risk factors such as smoking and obesity can be reduced through preventive care and lifestyle changes, but it’s often challenging to take action on something that isn’t happening yet. Virtual Reality, which has been proven to work in creating awareness and empathy for health conditions, could make such future scenarios more personable and relatable.