By Dr. Bertalan Mesko | Sept 22, 2017

Los Angeles-based appliedVR offers patients a non-drug escape route out of pain or panic through virtual reality. Their Bear Blast app has been shown to reduce pain by 24% among hospitalized patients at their most important partner, the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The company is working with other top ranked hospitals as well on demonstrating value through research and refining its product. appliedVR is aiming to build a VR pharmacy and looking for ways to go beyond the US in the future.I talked to Josh Sackman, President of appliedVR.

How many patients tried Applied VR already and what are the first reactions?

Sackman: “Our solution has been in the hands of thousands of patients already. It always amazes me when I can see a patient using our platform. Clinicians have very few non-pharmacological options, where in a matter of minutes, theycan observe a patient go from suffering great pain to quickly transforming to a state of calm. We have seen patients experiencing panic attacks in the emergency room snap out of their state, to hospitalized patients in such extreme pain that they demand a ketamine drip quickly regain control of their pain and anxiety after wearing the appliedVR headset”.

How easy is it for patients to get used to the device?

Sackman: “We are incredibly focused on ease of use and user experience so that patients are immediately immersed. Our solution is entirely gaze based, so it does not require trackpads or game controllers or one’s use of hands, which may not be available or feasible for certain patients. Our VR library can be experienced comfortably from a chair or hospital bed, and makes VR comfortable even for patients with range-of-motion constraints”.

In your experience, how do medical professionals find appliedVR?

Sackman: “There has been a lot of interest from providers, but there are certainly questions around workflow implementation. VR has a real role to play as a means for non-pharmacological alternatives for pain management in the face of the opioid epidemic, for executing the shift in insurance reimbursement models toward value-based pricing; or for creating a better patient experience. To address questions and concerns about VR, we invest time in education and training, including supporting events where we bring stakeholders together to foster conversation around how to make VR succeed in healthcare”.

Do you plan the launch of any new apps in the near future?

Sackman: “We are currently launching 2 new applications that will leverage our biometric platform aiming to enhance efficacy and personalize treatment. The first is for chronic pain patients, where we use VR in combination with mobile-based biofeedback sensors to help patients learn relaxation and coping skills to better manage their pain while also learning about acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) to regain control of their lives. Also, we are launching an application for labor and delivery to help women, who want a more natural childbirth, manage the pain during childbirth”.

Do you see any particular condition or disease where VR could be a better solution than anything else?

Sackman: “A large opportunity is to take VR beyond the clinical setting into patients’ homes, to increase access to safe and effective tools, to help patients manage chronic conditions like chronic pain. In the US, there are currently 100 million sufferers of chronic pain. According to the CDC, even a one-day prescription resulted in a 6% chance that the patient would still be taking opioids a year later, with a 30-day initial prescription increasing that addiction percentage to 45%. We think VR can help increase access to a low cost, yet effective pain management resource.
Would you like to know more about VR in healthcare? Read my article on The Medical Futurist!

Kind regards,

Dr. Bertalan Mesko
The Medical Futurist SM

Original Article