Not so far from now,
instead of prescribing another pill, doctors might recommend a beach vacation to ease aches and pains. Psychiatrists might treat social anxiety by inviting patients to a dinner party, or reminisce with Alzheimer patients in a replica of their childhood home. Hospitals might immerse children in fantastical play lands while they receive chemotherapy or undergo frightening medical tests.
It’s starting to happen right now because of virtual reality (VR) – the mind-bending technology that offers immersive, multisensory environments that nudge our brains into thinking we are somewhere, or someone, else.
But for decades, scientists in elite universities have been quietly discovering the surprising health benefits of VR for ailments ranging from burn injuries, to stroke, to PTSD, to schizophrenia, to existential anxiety at the end of life. Over five thousand studies reveal that VR has an uncanny ability to calm pain, steady nerves, and boost mental health. VR is helping to deliver babies, enabling soldiers to cope with the mental scars of war, and offering a new treatment for eating disorders. And in an unexpected way, VR is strengthening the humanity in healthcare by reminding doctors that patients are not broken machines, but are people whose subjective lives matter. VR is not just for gamers anymore; it is a new type of mind-body medicine.
Anxiety RelieVR / appliedVR
Explosive advances in delivering low-cost, portable, and high-quality VR to the masses has spawned a new multibillion dollar field called Medical VR.
The next challenge is to scale and implement VR into everyday clinical practice. Clinicians and investigators are learning what works – and doesn’t work – in creating “Virtualist” consult services and VR programs for patient care.
Developed by the VR clinical research team at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, with generous support from the Marc and Sheri Rapaport Fund for Digital Health Sciences and Precision Health, Virtual Medicine is a two-day symposium that convenes the brightest minds in immersive therapeutics. Attendees learn from case studies, didactic lectures, patient vignettes, and simulation workshops, to achieve the following educational objectives:
review evidence supporting the efficacy of medical VR.
study use cases where VR worked – and didn't work – to improve outcomes.
learn best practices and pragmatic tips for implementing VR into
discuss the cost-effectiveness and payer perspectives of therapeutic VR programs.
hear directly from patients who have received VR therapeutics.
VIRtual medicine is
who should attend
intended for a wide range of stakeholders seeking to learn about the implementation, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness of immersive virtual therapeutics in clinical practice and the role of VR and AR in medical education and simulation. Participants include clinicians using VR for patient care, patients exploring the benefits of VR as a complementary therapy, hospitals and clinics evaluating the health economics of starting a medical VR program, industry partners developing VR hardware and software solutions, journalists investigating the latest advances in medical VR, and investors seeking to learn the evidence and ROI for healthcare VR solutions.