Learn about the role of virtual reality in healthcare.
Technological advancements are being made on a daily basis and many of these have the potential to directly impact our everyday lives. One area in which we have seen increasing interest is virtual reality – immersive computer-generated environments that place users in seemingly life-like situations with which they can interact.
VR in pharmaceutical marketing
Pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device manufacturers need to communicate with doctors and consumers in different ways, but also in a way that differentiates their message from competitors and cuts through the abundance of health information that is readily available online. Virtual reality technology can allow them to do this in an innovative and engaging way. Many companies are already beginning to leverage virtual reality for a wide range of purposes including awareness, education and marketing.
VR in market research
Virtual reality can be used to create a "real-world" immersive experience in a variety of ways:
Using immersive virtual reality technology it is possible to gain feedback on new product concepts, and identify what respondents like and dislike about medical devices earlier on in the development process than ever before. Instead of building and distributing full-scale prototypes to market research venues around the world at great expense, manufacturers can present new medical devices and design concepts with virtual reality using digital prototypes. Wearing headsets, respondents can see and handle the devices just as if the physical versions were in front of them. Respondents can then review the different design elements and give a comprehensive assessment of the product.
Usability testing of medical devices can also go beyond interaction with the device’s interface. With virtual reality, market researchers have the ability to test the effects of using medical devices in real-world environments and use that information to predict future usability issues.
We have found that this rapidly growing technique for device testing is already being utilised by several pharmaceutical companies to streamline product design, enhance user experience research, save on development costs, and increase the overall quality of their products.
One of the major drawbacks of using traditional market research methodologies is the inability to create a realistic test environment. Too often issues of cost or inconvenience place respondents in sterile and unimaginative central location facilities behind two-way mirrors, and not out in the real environments that bring needed context to the research. Virtual reality technology can help researchers to overcome these barriers, lowering the operational costs while offering an almost real-world experience.
When incorporating eye tracking into virtual reality simulations, healthcare market researchers can achieve a more comprehensive view of a respondent’s conscious and subconscious behaviour. While respondents may consciously interact with their virtual environment, their eye movements are involuntary. The ability to observe both behaviours, and see what involuntarily draws a respondent’s eyes can provide invaluable insights for healthcare market researchers.
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