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article imageRead how hospitals are using virtual reality technology

By Tim Sandle     Jul 30, 2016 in Technology
A leading U.S. hospital - Cedars-Sinai Medical Center - has teamed up with a technology company called AppliedVR, to develop virtual reality to be used with patients in the hospital's orthopedic, spine, and surgery centers.
The idea behind the software is to help patients to deal with their injuries and to manage pain. The software and virtual reality platform is called Pain RelieVR and it provides an immersive experience. Programs can either help patients think about the condition in new ways, or it provides games and experiences designed to shift attention away from medical procedures.
The platform was developed by the company Applied VR (@AppliedVRhealth) with input from medical staff at Cedars-Sinai. The company have also developed a related product called Anxiety RelieVR, which offers guided relaxation to help patients more easily manage stress and anxiety associated with their condition or during treatment.
In trials, the applications are showing promise as therapeutic tools. Discussing this with QMed, Dr. Brennan Spiegel from Cedars-Sinai enthused: “Virtual reality is like dreaming with your eyes open.”
He then added: “As a healthcare provider, I view virtual reality as a compelling technology…at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center we have seen firsthand how virtual reality can meaningfully reduce pain scores without any medication or drugs.”
It is hoped the use of virtual reality will reduce the need for drugs like opioids (earlier this week Digital Journal ran an article indicating that opioids can actually extend or enhance pain, when administered for certain conditions.)
Tech blogger Jawna Standish (@Jawna_Standish) has backed the idea, tweeting: "Companies like this---> @AppliedVRhealth 🙌🏽 Amazingly promising for humanity🙏🏽 #VirtualReality #AugmentedReality #AI." Further information about the device is shown in the video below:
A further application is with training patients or with running educational programs, so that patients have in-built exercise plans to undertake at home.
Cedars-Sinai has become the first hospital to use fully-working virtual reality technology to help patients, following a pilot study. Data continues to be gathered, which will help with future development and provide a benchmark for other hospitals to consider implementing the technology.
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