Virtual reality tech projected to grow in healthcare sector

By Bernie Monegain
09:33 AM

Once representing a niche market of specialty applications, virtual reality (VR) has been integrated into a broad portfolio of healthcare activities, including clinical IT systems, operating rooms, schools of medicine and treatment programs for returning U.S. soldiers, according to Kalorama Information’s recent report Virtual Reality (VR) in Healthcare in the U.S.

According to the report, in 2010, the U.S. market for VR applications in healthcare reached approximately $670 million in sales. The market enjoyed a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 10 percent during the 2006-2010 period. Kalorama Information projects market growth to continue at a greater rate through 2015 as equipment and technology spending recovers among U.S. healthcare service providers.

“Virtual reality products have made a profound impact on patient outcomes and the daily workflow of physicians,” says Emil Salazar, market analyst for Kalorama Information. “The once-touted and projected ‘potential’ of VR for healthcare has translated into operational benefits for clients and real market opportunities for original equipment manufacturers, R&D companies and medical software developers. Healthcare VR product providers are well positioned to build upon established client markets and their sales in the U.S. healthcare industry.”

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[See another recent Kalorama report: Point-of-care testing market doubled over 6 years.]

“VR products align well with several prevailing healthcare trends,” says Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information. “VR has become a key feature in software applications for radiology and other clinical IT systems, training on minimally-invasive surgical procedures in understaffed departments, and the completion of those procedures in actual operating rooms.”

[See also: Kalorama: Medical mobile app market worth $84.1M.]

Beyond their utility to medical professionals and diverse industry applications, the report notes that healthcare VR products are receiving increasing attention from healthcare industry suppliers. While joint development and marketing has so far been the primary mode for medical equipment manufacturers to access VR application markets, recent middle market merger and acquisition deals have allowed companies outside the healthcare sector to stake a claim in the matured healthcare VR market.

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