Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to support some great events hosted by VRARA including the VR/AR in Healthcare Symposium, the Storytelling Symposium and the upcoming Healthcare Best Practices. Ever since I first experienced VR at a conference 15 months ago, I’ve been so excited for this medium and its future that I wanted to support these events so that we could all learn more from each other. I’ve applied some of this knowledge to begin a project of my own – it’s called Interventionville and I am ready to share it with you now!
Interventionville’s goal is to improve outcomes for patients with addiction and is primarily meant to be used by hospitals and clinics. As VRFocus eloquently put in their article on the project “Interventionville isn’t about directly treating a patient’s addiction, instead the application aims to introduce people with addiction to various forms of treatment inside an immersive VR environment.” That is the perfect summary of the concept.
In my research, I discovered that free resources called mutual help groups (think Alcoholics Anonymous and Refuge Recovery) are both effective at increasing long-term rates of abstinence and reducing healthcare expenditures. However, the way most hospitals and clinics refer patients to these groups is terribly ineffective. The patients cannot get the benefit of the groups if they never attend. Studies show once they attend their first group meeting, a large percentage continue to seek out the groups on their own with improved outcomes. The goal of Interventionville is to simulate the first meeting in a controlled environment (hospital or clinic) with the hope that after the introduction, the patients will seek out live or online sessions.
We're trying something that hasn't been done before, and I'm optimistic it will be effective given VR has proven useful in bringing about many other behavioral changes. However, I also work with this patient group daily so I know that realistically motivation and compliance can be a challenge. To keep such patients engaged, I’m trying to keep the visuals stunning, have a variety of simulations to choose from and incorporate some gamification.
If you’re curious what the outcome will be, please come support the project. Especially, any corporate support would be incredibly helpful. Feel free to email me directly with any questions or feedback about the project. Whether we hit the funding target or not, I’ll find a way to finish this project because it has the capacity to improve so many patients’ lives. It is said that “in addiction medicine with every person you treat, you improve the lives of another 20 people around them—their parents, their children, their siblings—even society as a whole.” If we can hit the target, it will significantly accelerate our progress, and therefore we'll be able to start helping patients sooner. So please visit our page, pledge any amount you can and share the link on your social media.
Founder, Order 66 Labs