Now more than just the imagination of science-fiction fans, virtual reality is an area with fascinating possibilities -- especially in healthcare. Here are five healthcare Virtual Reality companies to watch.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States -- affecting 40 million adults. While anxiety disorders are highly treatable, only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment. Virtual reality has been found to be an effective solution to treat mental illness by helping patients imagine their deepest fears. However, the cost and limited access to this technology has been a barrier for clinicians.
Through the use of a smartphone and VR goggles, The Psious Toolsuite, by Psious, makes the benefits of virtual reality easily available. It provides a set of hyper-realistic virtual environments where a clinician can guide their patient through anxieties, fears, phobias, as well as practices for Mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Psious found that most of their customers are not very tech-savvy, so their technology doesn’t require costly or complex equipment investments. Further, it is easy to use and doesn’t require professional installation or technical expertise.
You can learn more about Psious here.
Just how pilots plan out the scene of their mission with flight simulation technology, Surgical Theater is allowing neurosurgeons to “fly” through their patient’s brains before making an incision. Surgical Theater is changing the way surgeons consult with their patients, plan complex surgeries, and use medical imaging to navigate surgeries. SuRgical Planning (SRP) is the first and only patented and FDA-cleared platform for neurosurgical preoperative planning. It uses a patient’s CT or MRI scan to create a 3D model that the surgical team can use for preoperative planning.
“Flying through the patient’s brain and having the ability to circumnavigate the tumor to see how the surrounding tissue, arteries or the optic nerve could be connected is critical to planning the removal procedure,” Dr. Martin, Chair of the Department of Neurosurgery at UCLA Medical Center said. “It stays with you. So the terrain of the patient’s brain is familiar in surgery, which can enhance performance, reduce risk, and improve the overall outcome and timing of the surgery.”
You can learn more about Surgical Theater here.
Experts say the United States is in the throes of an opioid epidemic. There are more than two million Americans that are dependant on or abuse prescription pain pills and street drugs. In 2015, there were 52,404 overdose deaths in the U.S. and 63.1% of that involved an opioid. That’s an average of 91 opioid overdose deaths per day.
In the wake of this crisis, Firsthand Technology has found that immersive virtual reality can significantly reduce pain, relieve stress, and build resilience. While current treatments of chronic pain mainly involves narcotics, various studies enlisted by Firsthand Technology found that VR reduces the amount of time thinking about pain by 48%, while opioids only by 10%. Further, it decreases the unpleasantness of chronic pain by 38%, while opioids is only 16%.
Their affordable and practical VR hardware kits and software, Cool! and Glow!, have been proven to reduce pain and anxiety. In fact, through Cool!, chronic pain patients showed pain reductions of 60-70% during the VR treatment, 30-50% immediately after the treatment, and this effect lasted up to 48 hours after the treatment with no dizziness, headaches, or nausea.
Firsthand Technology’s latest tweet sums it up perfectly, “There is a global epidemic of misuse of pain medication, Virtual Reality is the solution in taking back control of your treatment.”
Both Cool! And Glow! Are available for both single patients and hospital settings. You can learn more about Firsthand Technology and their work here.
What if medical students and doctors could perform complex surgeries on patients without the mess and risk? Well for the past nine years, VirtaMed has been working on making that possible. Their highly realistic surgical simulators for medical training allow surgeons to train in a safe environment before performing surgeries on patients. Further, their simulators allow doctors to use original tools, train whenever and wherever, and train in multiple surgical fields. Not only is VirtaMed improving the quality of care and patient safety, their guided training saves instruction and OR time and money.
You can learn more about VirtaMed here.
Before See Vividly, amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, was treated by putting a patch over a patient’s strong eye for weeks or months at a time. Now, this San Fransisco based company is offering the world’s most advanced lazy eye treatment. With their product, Vivid Vision, patients can play exciting virtual reality games instead of patching. It starts patients in a virtual reality world where the scene is split into two images -- one for the strong eye and one for the weak eye. Over time, the signal strength of the strong eye is decreased while it is increased in the weak eye. This makes it easier for both eyes to work together. As the patient progresses, the goal is to no longer need any modifications of images so patients can see in depth all the time. It is available for clinic work or to use from the comfort of your own home.
You can learn more about See Vividly here.