Emerging virtual reality systems offer intriguing therapeutic possibilities, but their development and use should be guided by ethical priorities that account for the specific vulnerabilities of patients.
In recent years, VR systems have made substantial technological progress, particularly in terms of their simulation capacities. As a result, they have become highly ‘immersive’. Today, VR is popular for consumers, but also for research purposes in psychology, cognitive sciences and clinical medicine. In health care, such highly immersive VR systems can provide significant benefits for various groups of patients.
The ethical tensions created by VR use in medicine may vary considerably depending on the patient’s underlying condition and specific vulnerabilities.
VR technology offers great potential benefits for various groups of patients, yet its development and application should be guided by ethical priorities that account for the specific vulnerabilities of these patients.