March 28, 2018By Lance Baily

Virtual Medicine Conference Opens at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles

Today in Los Angeles California at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the inaugural Virtual Medicine Conference opened with a keynote presentation by event organizer Dr. Brennan Spiegel MD, MSHS. 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 and the Mayday Fund, Virtual Medicine is a two-day symposium and hands-on workshop that convenes the brightest minds in therapeutic VR. Attendees have been able to learn from case studies, didactic lectures, patient vignettes, and simulation workshops.

“If Virtual Reality is a therapy, then we need a VR Pharmacy” Dr. Spiegel

Dr. Spiegel opened the event with a keynote and spoke about the work he and Cedars-Sinai are accomplishing with the use of VR in their hospital, as well as presented some of the opportunities other healthcare institutions can gain from the use of VR. One research project they have completed provided VR environment therapy to patients vs a 2D video screen version of the same content and found that clinical response jumped to 65% for the VR group vs. 40% from the control group for healing. He suggested the need to further explore the costs associated with VR, exploring if it can reduce the patient’s length of stay, need for medication, medication complications, and increase satisfaction score. He also shared numerous examples of how VR can be used for patient and professional education with a live demonstration of a VR experience.

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Following Brennan’s introduction, the presentation “Does VR Really Help Patients?” was given by Itai Danovitch, MD, MBA and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at Cedars-Sinai. Itai suggested that VR in patient healthcare can be used for: distraction, desensitization, visuospatial tracking, motor coordination, role playing, and/or self-reflection. He suggested that one power of VR is to “help us recognize how easy it is for reality to be easily manipulated”. He covered the areas in Psychiatric conditions, post-stroke rehabilitation, and neurological disorders utilizing VR in the research literature — suggesting there is now about 1000 articles a year, with 10% of those being supported by clinical trials. Noted patient benefits from the review suggested supplemental healing, with a huge benefit being that the technology is deemed tolerable and safe.

Afterwords, other talks in the first afternoon block included: “The psychology of VR” where Les Posen, PhDShared what 17 years of working in the clinical trenches has taught him, “Best practices for integrating VR into the clinical workflow” and what works, and what doesn’t by Matthew Stoudt MBA, and “The exponential future of VR in healthcare” by Singularity University’s Exponential Medicine Champion Daniel Kraft, MD.

More about Virtual Medicine Conference

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VMC is intended for a wide range of stakeholders seeking to learn about the implementation, outcomes, and cost-effectiveness of medical VR in clinical practice. 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.

The event also held an exhibit hall with the latest VR demonstrations including projects from Boston Children’s & Klick Health, Voyager-Health, appliedVR, HP, VES, and others. Stay tuned to for a recap article of all the exhibitors in the near future.

With all the continued innovation demonstrated at the Virtual Medicine Conference, perhaps VR will be the catalyst for the the use of simulation in healthcare? For those interested in diving more into Virtual Reality we recommend the book Dawn of the New Everything: A Journey Through Virtual Reality.

Learn more about the Virtual Medicine Conference on their website!

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