Publication date: Jan 12, 2020
As virtual reality (VR) technology continues to improve and become more affordable, its application in healthcare is expected to undergo an explosive period of growth over the next several years.
This week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas has been showcasing some of the latest advances in the field as healthcare providers are turning to VR for pain management, mindfulness, stress reduction, and addiction.
As part of the Digital Health Summit at CES, Harbir Singh, MD, the CEO and cofounder of Cynergi Health Partners and Kyle ER and Hospital in Texas, addressed how his community hospital is employing VR to create patient-focused addiction treatment.
The effect of Cynergi VR is consistent with research studies and meta-analyses, such as a paper published in 2014 in Industrial Psychiatry Journal, that have shown VR to be an effective intervention for mental health, according to Singh.
Specifically, VR has demonstrated benefits in patients experiencing anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, specific phobias, chronic pain, and substance use disorders.
Healthcare facilities, such as St. Jude’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, are now testing out VR to soothe symptoms of illnesses like sickle cell disease.
The health tech firm Tripp, which is exhibiting at CES, plans to conduct a clinical study on how VR may ease depression in cancer patients.
Reeves, a guest speaker on health and wellness technology at CES, expects VR to reach more people as the technology improves and becomes more affordable.
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