How One Top Hospital Is Using Virtual Reality

Mainstream use of virtual reality (VR) headsets began about two years ago. In that time, the devices, which transport the user into a different world, have been used for entertainment, teaching, and healthcare.

VR is another tool that can be used to help reduce patients pain. Currently, opioids are the standard treatment for pain relief. However, according to data from the CDC, 91 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, and prescription opioids are a known driving factor in these deaths

Last week, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, one of the earliest adopters of VR in a healthcare setting, gave an update on the impact of the reality-altering technology during MD&M West.

Cedars-Sinai physicians teamed up with Los Angeles-based Applied VR to develop therapeutic virtual reality content that can help patients manage pain and stress.

The Pain RelieVR platform helps patients manage pain by offering highly immersive VR games that can shift patients’ attention away from medical procedures and the recovery processes. The two have also developed the Anxiety RelieVR application for patients.

“We’re taking all of this and now we’re introducing it into the hospital,” Vartan Tashjian, an Internist at Cedars-Sinai, said during a panel at MD&M West.

In May of 2017, a study evaluating Applied VR’s technology in 100 hospitalized Cedars-Sinai patients was published in JMIR Mental Health, a sister publication of the Journal of Medical Internet Research.

In the study, 50 patients received VR therapy and reported a 24% drop in pain scores after using the virtual reality goggles. The study showed that another 50 patients viewing a calming two-dimensional standard video only reported a decrease of 13.2% in pain.

By Omar Ford | MD+DI

Image Credit: AppliedVR


About Peter Coffaro 629 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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