CONNECTED HEALTH CONFERENCE • SAVE THE DATE • October 16-18, 2019 • Boston, MA
John Sharp, Director, Thought Advisory, HIMSS
Immersive technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) are widely used in gaming and other entertainment venues. But in healthcare is there a value? Are the initial studies showing effectiveness? Is there any potential harm?
Dr. Brennan Spiegel points out that with the lowering price of VR headsets, it can now be used as “a drug-free therapeutic intervention across a range of clinical scenarios … with its impact on patient outcomes.” These include:
I participated as a reviewer and mentor in the Medical Capital Innovation Competition in Cleveland this Spring on the theme of AR/VR. The winners included vision treatment, 3-D views of anatomy and virtual physical therapy. All provided evidence of effectiveness of AR/VR for their innovations.
Regarding negative effects, one study by Dr. Difede of Weill-Cornell notes in a large cohort of patients that deterioration rates were 4% in VR and that this is consistent with other therapeutic methods in anxiety disorders.
So are these immersive technologies ready for prime time? In some cases, they could be offered as a first-line treatment, particularly for some chronic pain conditions and PTSD. Other areas are still under investigation but look promising. Granted that implementation will require having a VR formulary, careful patient selection, and monitoring any negative effects as would be true of any new treatment. Innovative treatments like AR/VR will become more common as the evidence grows and patients see the benefits.
Immersive Technology in Health
In this session, these experts will present their insights on this topic at the Connected Health Conference in October.