This session discussed how ARVR is applied in a very different sector – healthcare. Two of the leading hospitals in the US - Cedars Sinai and Boston Children’s Hospital discussed how they are using ARVR to enhance patient experience.
Cedars Sinai using VR content developed by AppliedVR, to test how it helps alleviate pain from patients, sometimes terminally ill. The VR content, which were shown during SXSW, includes anything from an experience traveling to Iceland, to just soothing sceneries of waterfalls or rainforests. The patients participated in the trial reported that the VR experience really helped them relax and forget about the pain for the period of time.
Another similar program that Cedars Sinai is developing in collaboration with Samsung, Travelers insurance, etc, is to incorporate VR as a ‘digital pain reduction kit’, aiming to help patients reduce Opioid dependencies, which is now an epidemic in the US.
ARVR can also be a new and effective way for patients to receive, and understand medical data.
One example is Boston Children’s Hospital also working with AppliedVR to build a ‘virtual reality guide’ to help young children understand MRI procedure. In addition, the hospital is working with a startup - Klick Health from Canada to develop an app called Health Voyager, which takes in data from young patient’s endoscopy records, and transforms it into a virtual experience to help the patients understand their own body.
As both MRI and endoscopy can be traumatic experience, particularly for young children, the hospital found that with VR as an aide, it not only helped reduce anxiety for these patients, but also enabled them to better understand their own results.
AppliedVR’s solution has now been used by over 5000 patients at more than 180 healthcare sites. They’ve been proven useful in educating patients, and helping them developing coping skills and relaxation skills to relieve pain.
ARVR technologies truly open up new frontier in the healthcare sector. Besides the examples above, ARVR has also been tested on therapy for autism, stroke, and treatment of lazy eye, among others. Though when asked about challenges in adoption, the panelists mentioned is the difficulty to monitor how the solutions are being used once they are deployed into hospitals, as well as how to prove the economics to payers, and hospital administration.