February 19, 2021By Lance Baily

Upcoming Virtual Conference: IVRHA 2021 VR Health Symposium

The 5th Annual International Virtual Reality and Healthcare Association (IVRHA) is just about to launch the 2021 VR Health Symposium, a global conference that showcases the broad potential of virtual reality in healthcare simulation, which will be held from March 2 to March 5 online. This year’s virtual symposium will offer networking opportunities, informative plenary sessions and VR expert panel discussions. This conference is an excellent opportunity for those using virtual reality in simulation to share progress, collectively brainstorm on best practices, and forge high impact business relationships. HealthySimulation.com is a proud sponsor of the IVRHA and recommends those interested in VR in medicine topics to attend!

IVRHA is a member driven organization comprised of entities throughout the healthcare ecosystem, including technology companies, teaching hospitals and universities. The organization also includes healthcare providers and insurance companies. IVRHA’s mission is to facilitate and support the growth of the virtual reality and healthcare simulation industries as this new computing platform impacts healthcare practitioners and patients around the world.

This year’s event will feature a first time dedicated “University Day” chaired by Jonathan Sherman, MD, FAANS, FACS. During the symposiums, attendees can view presentations from the University of Texas at Dallas, Stanford University, Yale University, University of Central Florida, University of Colorado, West Virginia University, Ohio University, Simon Fraser University and the University of Southern California. Admission also includes a hard copy edition of the forthcoming book: “Applied Virtual Reality in Healthcare: Case Studies and Perspectives” shipped for free anywhere in the world.


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“We know from decades of research that virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) technologies can address the most difficult problems in healthcare. Ranging from mood disorders such as anxiety and depression to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), addiction, autism, cognitive aging, as well as neuro and physical rehabilitation,” conference founder of the VR Health Symposium Bob Fine said.

According to Fine, VR/AR technology will continue to have impact by enabling objective clinical assessments as well as providing for improved skill training and procedure planning. Personal health and wellness can also be improved by using immersive systems to promote better nutrition, engender healthier lifestyles and reduce personal stress and anxiety. Further, as the cost of healthcare rises, VR and AR can serve as an effective telemedicine platform to reduce the costs of care delivery and improve clinical efficiency in both urban and rural settings.

2020 IVRHA VR Health Symposium Recap

Last year’s International Virtual Reality and Healthcare Association VR Health Symposium took place at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and was in fact the last event HealthySimulation.com staff attended before the COVID-19 lockdowns began! The event brought an estimated 300+ attendees, vendors, entrepreneurs, investors and virtual reality experts together for two days of XR conversations focused on healthcare. Presentations featured a balanced mix of speakers from academia, healthcare organizations and the virtual reality technology industry in both a plenary and track breakout format.


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Key speakers at the 2020 IVRHA VR Health Symposium included leading virtual reality in medicine clinician, Dr. Brennan Spiegel from Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, as well as Tennessee’s own former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Dr. William Frist. He is a nationally-acclaimed heart and lung transplant surgeon, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, and chairman of the executive board of the health service private equity firm Cressey & Company.

The opening plenary was presented by Walter Greenleaf and featured a discussion on “VR & Healthcare’s Past, Present and Future” led by Dr. Walter Greenleaf, PhD, behavioral neuroscientist and medical technology developer from Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab. His discussion covered the digital health revolution, emerging and confluent technologies, overall landscape of XR (Mixed Reality) technologies, neuroscience, history and current status of XR healthcare technologies and future projections.

Dr. Greenleaf started by reminding the audience that virtual reality in medicine technologies have existed for decades (with the first VR system available in 1987), not just with the investment by Facebook into the acquisition of Oculus a few years ago. He also shared that digital technologies are revolutionizing healthcare by enabling a massive amount of data collection never possible before, with new biomarker capture technologies enabling us to better understand the physical and mental states of patients worldwide.

More About Virtual Reality in Medicine

Virtual Reality in Medicine is a three-dimensional teaching tool used across the field of healthcare as a means of both education and instruction. Virtual reality commonly refers to healthcare simulation environments in which learners can experience visual stimuli delivered via computer graphics and other sensory experiences. This advancing technology allows learners to obtain the knowledge and understanding necessary to perform a number of tasks and procedures involving the human body without ever having to practice on a live patient.

Central to this technology is the immersive capacity of virtual reality, meaning that the simulated environment surrounds a learner’s perceptual field. This means that the user feels psychologically present in the digital world, rather than in their physical reality. Used to educate learners on diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, surgery, counseling techniques and more, Virtual Reality in Medicine is helping to train the next generation of healthcare professionals. This medical simulation technology has shown to have a number of benefits, such as allowing learners to practice their skills without fear of error causing potentially life-threatening impacts.

The virtual reality tools still provide the hands-on experience required to acquire familiarity and comfort in performing procedures, but in a safe and controlled setting. Therefore, as learners make mistakes, they can be thoroughly corrected in real time and without risk. As virtual reality modules still require interaction, skills can become second nature before they are applied in real world scenarios.

For example, virtual reality in medicine can be used for paramedic training by having learners interact with simulated emergencies where they are faced with high-pressure situations. By learning to respond accordingly, they will be better equipped to handle similar occurrences once they are in the field.

Learn More About The 2021 VR Health Symposium


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