Lee Simpson of ustwo Prescribes VR for the Future of Healthcare
A team from ustwo studios attended the 2019 Virtual Reality and Healthcare Symposium in Tucson, Arizona, an annual conference focusing on how new applications of immersive VR technologies are advancing healthcare. After attending the event, Lee Simpson, Head of TV and Entertainment at ustwo wrote Prescribing VR, a blog post featuring his insights from the symposium and the different ways VR is driving the future of healthcare.
In his piece, Simpson described the already widespread use of immersive technology in education and training, noting how today almost all doctors experience some kind of immersive training experience during their education. He mentioned how companies like VirtaMed, a Swiss based simulation design company, are providing realistic virtual reality training simulations so doctors can not only practice procedures ahead of time, but also establish more accurate prognoses for safer and more effective surgeries.
As with education and training, diagnostics data is critical for the evaluation and treatment of patients. Simpson detailed how wearable connected technology can diagnose patients in a noninvasive way such as BioStamp nPoint, a small medical monitor patch that tracks vital signs like electrocardiogram data and muscle activity. He then went on to discuss treatment, where virtual reality is emerging as an extremely effective tool in behavioral medicine. Mixed reality tools like the interactive meditation app Sway are demonstrating immersive applications even within the busiest of public spaces. The app pairs audio with smartphones’ motion sensing capabilities to calm any outside setting into a distraction-free space for practicing wellness. With VR’s ability to enhance the overall patient experience, and AR’s potential to incorporate digital health into daily life experiences, immersive technology is poised to become a whole new medium for healthcare.
Lastly, Simpson brought up how the use of immersive technology in rehabilitation and aftercare is expanding. The novel experience of immersion can be equally entertaining and effective by using sensory and emotional stimulation, something that is especially important for an aging population discouraged by physical limitations. Applications using VR hardware can combat the symptoms and side effects of aging by exercising perception and cognition. He concluded by reaffirming the early promise of VR and AR. Their transformative nature can help people understand the world and on another in new ways that allow for us to reconnect with what it means to be human in the industry that can benefit from it the most.