Healthcare VR innovations are healing patients

Virtual reality is healing patients with augmented technologies. The patient experience has been transformed. Welcome to the era of engaged recovery — the new world of healing.

Immersive multimedia, hybrid realities and computer-generated sensory experiences place doctors and patients into fantasy worlds. Our fascination with digital cameras has evolved into a curiosity about head-mounted displays (HMD) and 360-degree immersion videos. Virtual worlds have enabled open access into an environment where non-real-world experiences are nested within physical experiences.

Three emerging realities will change the hospital experience with unparalleled possibilities:

  1. Virtual reality (VR): full immersion, a simulated reality.
  2. Mixed reality: partial immersion, virtual objects in a real world.
  3. Augmented reality (AR): information overlay, simulated information on top of the real world.

Today, we’ll explore how advances in virtual reality are creating worlds that heal.

Healing patients with virtual reality

Virtual reality enables you to attend your favorite classical concert, relax on a beach of your dreams, or engage in a multi-player game with other patients post-surgery. Post surgery recovery is changing.

Three-dimensional images, encapsulated within a virtual environment, allow patients to participate in a seemingly real world blurring the physical, digital, and biological spheres. Amplified interconnectivity and network building have provided patients with access to increasingly sophisticated platforms renewing patient engagement.

The Medical Virtual Reality (MedVR) group at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies focuses on four areas of virtual medical reality: mental and behavioral health, game-based rehabilitation, neurocognitive assessment and training, and virtual humans. MedVR was established in 1999 and is sponsored by the U.S. Army supported by a unique team of artists, gamers, computer and social scientists, and educators. MedVR is creating interactive worlds for patients to grow and heal, utilizing virtual reality to transform the patient experience.

SimCoach (web-based virtual humans designed to assist service members) and Virtual Patient (virtual human technology used to create realistic, lifelike avatars to train clinician) are improving the patient and provider experience through dynamic virtual reality environments. Healing just became fun.

The next generation of clinical education

The list of possibilities for VR is endless. Augmented and virtual reality medical solutions are removing distractions, improving the quality of critical thinking, and maturing learning solutions, saving time and money while supercharging the learning experience. Explosive developments in 3D virtual and augmented reality have taken clinical education and hands-on learning to the next level.

One such example is Eonreality, a pioneer in virtual reality. Eonreality a world leader in virtual- and augmented-reality-based knowledge transfer for industry, education and entertainment. Eonreality uses virtual reality to create smart nations, better athletes, enhanced leisure and sports experiences, and patient-centric education to bring immersive experiences to life. Eonreality provides solutions across education, medical, energy, aerospace, manufacturing, real estate and construction, edutainment, travel and tourism, sports, government, defense and retail.

The application of virtual reality is creating a more engaged sports fan and can even bring Christmas early. Medical training for ophthalmology is another of the many immersive experiences Eonreality offers. Faster learning, high levels of knowledge transfer and improved attention through a greater level of engagement. Attention is improved by targeting all three modalities for learning: kinesthetic, visual and auditory.

Eyeslim is one of Eonreality’s flagship products. Eyeslim is a virtual reality ophthalmic training simulator application designed for educators to use in the classroom. This platform allows learners to achieve mastery learning through deliberate practice. The Eyeslim project started with the vision to address three challenges: 1) Two-dimensional representations of 3D problems, 2) not early enough “hands on” practice and 3) the limited amount of dysfunctions that can be simulated in 2D. It’s difficult for medical students to study complex ophthalmology structures of the human eye using traditional books and 2D teaching aids. This intentional and deliberate practice was necessary for proficiency, and this method of learning was not possible within a 2D learning environment. Eonreality transformed learning, through the creation of a virtual immersion experience, removing the need for expensive physical simulators. 

A rebirth of healthcare

Innovation is ever present in the virtual reality space for healthcare. 

  • Mindmaze has developed a breakthrough platform to build intuitive human-machine interfaces combining virtual reality, computer graphics, brain imaging and neuroscience.
  • MindMotionPRO is a healthcare product offering immersive virtual reality solutions for early motor rehabilitation in stroke patients.
  • Live 360 uses consumer-level virtual reality devices such as the Oculus Rift.
  • Medical Realities offers systems designed to reduce the cost of training.
  • ImmersiveTouch is a surgical virtual reality technology that offers a realistic surgical touch and feel. It also brings patient images to life with AR and VR imaging.
  • BioFlight VR offers a broad range of medical VR and AR services, including VR training and simulations, AR training, behavior modification and 360-degree video.
  • Zspace is an immersive medical learning platform, virtualizing anatomical representations into complete procedural planning. zSpace brings a new dimension to medical learning and visualization across three spaces: gross anatomy VR lab (13,000 plus anatomical objects), teaching presentation view (share the teaching experience with the class via HD TV) and DICOM Viewer (volumetrically render 2D DICOM slices).

Virtual reality products are flooding the healthcare market. New innovative approaches to old problems have nudged entrepreneurs toward a new belief — the belief there is hope for the healthcare experience to transform.

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Peter is a technology executive with over 20 years of experience, dedicated to driving innovation, digital transformation, leadership, and data in business. He helps organizations connect strategy to execution to maximize company performance. He has been recognized for Digital Innovation by CIO 100, MIT Sloan, Computerworld, and the Project Management Institute. As Managing Director at OROCA Innovations, Peter leads the CXO advisory services practice, driving digital strategies. Peter was honored as an MIT Sloan CIO Leadership Award Finalist in 2015 and is a regular contributor to on innovation. Peter has led businesses through complex changes, including the adoption of data-first approaches for portfolio management, lean six sigma for operational excellence, departmental transformations, process improvements, maximizing team performance, designing new IT operating models, digitizing platforms, leading large-scale mission-critical technology deployments, product management, agile methodologies, and building high-performance teams. As Chief Information Officer, Peter was responsible for Connecticut’s Health Insurance Exchange’s (HIX) industry-leading digital platform transforming consumerism and retail-oriented services for the health insurance industry. Peter championed the Connecticut marketplace digital implementation with a transformational cloud-based SaaS platform and mobile application recognized as a 2014 PMI Project of the Year Award finalist, CIO 100, and awards for best digital services, API, and platform. He also received a lifetime achievement award for leadership and digital transformation, honored as a 2016 Computerworld Premier 100 IT Leader. Peter is the author of Learning Intelligence: Expand Thinking. Absorb Alternative. Unlock Possibilities (2017), which Marshall Goldsmith, author of the New York Times No. 1 bestseller Triggers, calls "a must-read for any leader wanting to compete in the innovation-powered landscape of today." Peter also authored The Power of Blockchain for Healthcare: How Blockchain Will Ignite The Future of Healthcare (2017), the first book to explore the vast opportunities for blockchain to transform the patient experience. Peter has a B.S. in C.I.S from Bentley University and an MBA from Quinnipiac University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He earned his PMP® in 2001 and is a certified Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Masters in Business Relationship Management (MBRM) and Certified Scrum Master. As a Commercial Rated Aviation Pilot and Master Scuba Diver, Peter understands first hand, how to anticipate change and lead boldly.