VR is branching out of the world of video games and becoming an integral part of everyday life. But the healthcare industry, in particular, is set to change dramatically with the introduction of VR technologies.
But while VR can be used to train doctors and present them with patient information straight away, it can be a challenge to see how VR will impact the other end of the spectrum – the OTC medications and the pharmacies that supply them.
Selling The Experience
VR represents a complete revolution regarding content adoption and education, especially in the healthcare industry. It’s highly visual, interactive and stimulating, and can be used to teach and learn new behaviours that will ultimately lead to better care.
VR is about the ‘experience’, rather than the product itself. By incorporating VR into their product development and marketing, brands can add an extra layer of experience to using their products, making them very appealing to the end user.
Clever brands can even use VR as a way of influencing customer and patient behaviours and prompting action. This could be anything from convincing them to buy your particular brand over another, to improving their use (and therefore efficacy) of your product. More on that later. But by selling the ‘experience’ of a product, bringing it to life with characters, games and adventures, brands using VR can see a significant advantage in the marketplace.
For brands, VR also provides a new and innovative USP – something many businesses haven’t even registered as an option yet. While it might seem a little ‘gimmicky’ at first, the neuroscience behind VR and why our brains react so strongly to it will become so compelling that they have no choice but to adopt it, or be left behind.
Improved Patient Care
VR also offers endless opportunities to improve remote patient care across the board. From the pharmacy side, VR represents a significant cost saving on training new pharmacists – using VR to roll out interactive training programmes around the country – freeing up more funds for other areas in healthcare. It also provides opportunities for pharmacists to learn and update their training without leaving the premises, and without associated risks.
From a patient’s perspective, VR can reduce the stress of going to a physical pharmacy (especially if the patient is less mobile), provide more education into the medication being prescribed, how to administer it and general self-care, and even allow pharmacies themselves to create their own improved experiences.
For example, if a patient isn’t mobile, VR in the near future will give them the chance to explore the sensation of visiting the pharmacy and having that experience. This is particularly useful for patients who are very set in their routine as it can act as a kind of placebo. It’s also perfect for those patients who are time poor, who might even forsake their health because they simply don’t have the time to go and physically visit a pharmacy.
Strengthen Market Position For Early Adopters
In the OTC industry, brands are always looking for ways to stand out from their competition and entice buyers to choose their products over others. One of the best ways they can do this in such a crowded marketplace is by adopting new disruptive technologies like VR and integrating it with their brand experience.
This not only leads to higher customer awareness but allows them to produce enhanced products that give them a competitive edge. It’s also very attractive to trade buyers, who are more likely to remember the unique product. It proves to them that the brand can produce future-proofed products that will still be relevant and popular in an evolving market. Eventually, brands who do embrace VR technologies will become the household names we all reach for.
An Immersive Learning Experience
VR also offers the unique opportunity for patients of all ages to learn and engage with their care in an immersive way. Using the technology, brands can actively improve patient behaviours by teaching the correct treatment methods in an interactive environment – all managed by A.I. This could significantly reduce trips to doctors and hospitals due to misused products, and proactive education on at-home treatments for common illnesses will provide some relief for a strained healthcare system.
With VR, patients can learn about their illnesses and prioritise their recovery and symptom management effectively, on their own, using OTC options. A great example of this is our interactive AR app Myspira, which is an asthma training aid for children. Featuring a very cute character, the child is taught about asthma and how to manage the condition through gamification. The app is due for general release November 2018, but has already picked up two prestigious awards!
At Orbital Media, we believe that the VR industry and the OTC industry are destined to do great things together, given the right drive. OTC will start to use VR and other similar technologies to add value to their existing products, creating an experience that works with them in tandem.
From a quit-smoking aid that uses distraction techniques and exercises to help you beat your cravings, to a gentle stretching routine that helps you overcome back pain when combined with pain relieving gels. Not only will it transform the way patients interact with the physical pharmacy for over the counter medications, but it will also change the way brands develop and promote their products.