Recommended Reading: A Review of 8399 VR and AR Medical Publications by a team of 14

The JMIR article entitled “Virtual and Augmented Reality Applications in Medicine: Analysis of the Scientific Literature” has 14 authors and was published online in February, 2021.

This paper by Andy Wai Kan Yeung et al. constitutes the first bibliometric analysis of scientific research on the applications of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in medicine. Spanning the entire history of VR in medicine from the early 1990s to today, Yeung and his team have done the hard work of compiling over 8000 papers on medical VR to create this concise report on where the field is today and where it’s going tomorrow. One thing is made abundantly clear: Virtual Reality has a vast breadth of potential applications in clinical settings and its use is growing exponentially across the globe.

Key players in the field are identified, including countries, institutions, journals, and individuals with the most research activity, providing keen insight into where you can find the most productive and relevant research on any number of clinical applications of virtual reality.

While the United States still produces the most research in this area as a single country, the total of European article contributions is higher, and a significant contribution comes from Australia, indicating a growing global interest in VR research. (Exhibit 1).

As to the institutions and authors with the greatest contribution, (Exhibits 2 and 3), there are some surprises, as many are not involved in non-academic conferences or social media.

.In exploring popular research themes, this JMIR paper displays the full breadth of diverse clinical conditions that can benefit from the application of VR; these range from depression and anxiety to neuropathological conditions like Alzheimer’s, with a major research focus in conditions related to cognitive function.

Perhaps most interestingly, the annual research activity in this area is shown to be growing exponentially, both in original publications and citations. This trend is expected to continue as new clinical applications are discovered in psychology, neuroscience, rehabilitation, and even surgery. This paper is a comprehensive introduction to VR in the medical research world, and a perfect starting place for anyone looking to learn more about the exciting and fascination direction of VR in medicine.

Exhibit 1. The most productive countries of virtual reality research in medicine, organized by region (adapted from Table 3, Yeung et al.).

Exhibit 2. The 10 most productive organizations of virtual reality research in medicine (8399 articles). (Yeung et al.)

Exhibit 3. The 10 most productive authors of virtual reality research in medicine (8399 articles). (Yeung et al.)