VRARA Healthcare Committee Mission Statement

The VRARA Healthcare Committee will set industry standards for the meaningful use of immersive technologies.

We are committed to creating and sustaining the conditions that enable all healthcare practitioners to facilitate the transformative power of VR/AR to improve patient care worldwide. 

We do this through our commitment to educate and unite healthcare providers around the globe on a single mission to disrupt current standards of care.

The VRARA Healthcare Committee is striving to become the number one network providing invaluable in- depth information for anyone looking to engage VR/AR technology for social impact within the realm of healthcare.

We invite you to participate in our Healthcare Committee! More info here


Tim Moyer is the Lead of the XR Lab at Jefferson’s DICE Group.  More info here

VRARA Co-Chair

VR/AR Healthcare Industry Sector Report. Get your Copy here!

To receive a copy of this report, enter your email here:

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Table of Contents

  • Foreward

  • Absorb Reality

  • Amalgamated Vision

  • DICE Group at Jefferson

  • Floreo

  • GeneHope Biotech Ltd

  • healthiAR

  • Igloo Vision LTD

  • Order 66 Labs, Inc.

  • Relax VR

  • Sentireal Ltd

  • SkillReal by Compedia


  • VRHealth

  • Wise Realities

  • Other 100+ Companies

Foreward 1

Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) technology has undergone a transition in the last 20 years taking it from the realm of “expensive toy” into that of functional technology. These advances stand to offer new opportunities for clinical research, assessment, and intervention across a diverse spectrum of healthcare disciplines. Since the mid-1990s, VR/AR-based testing, training, teaching, and treatment approaches have been developed by clinicians and researchers that would be difficult, if not impossible, to deliver using traditional methods. During this time, a large (but still maturing) scientific literature has evolved regarding the outcomes and effects from the use of what we now refer to as Clinical VR/AR.

Such VR/AR simulation systems have targeted the assessment and treatment of cognitive, psychological, physical, and functional impairments across a wide range of clinical health conditions. Moreover, continuing advances in the underlying enabling technologies for creating and delivering VR/AR applications has recently resulted in its widespread availability as consumer products, sometimes at a very low cost.

This state of affairs has led to the rapid growth of a vibrant eco- system of commercial entities that are now creating opportunities for getting VR/AR content and systems into the hands of patients and healthcare providers. Novel, usable, and useful VR/AR creations are now becoming readily available in the consumer marketplace, something that existed on only a very small scale just 5 years ago.

In addition to the rapid proliferation of new VR/AR start-ups, another positive by-product of this market potential is in the translation of research-based prototypes into consumer products that can now see the light of day and provide the user benefits that their academic developers had intended. Having a market conduit for well-researched, pro-social VR/AR systems to “escape the lab” now provides significant incentives for funders/investors to support technology research and development that will continue to drive advances in VR/AR user experiences needed to promote health and wellness! Thus, this initial collection of VR/AR healthcare profiles is well-timed for increasing awareness and access to the excellent work that has been quietly brewing over the last couple of decades. With more VR/AR healthcare start-ups emerging in the last 2 years, than in the previous 20, information about these healthcare-focused companies will become a valued resource for finding and accessing the tools needed to make a real difference for the patients we serve!

-- Skip Rizzo, Director of the Medical Virtual Reality research group at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies

Foreward 2

Healthcare has long been a laggard on using leading edge technology, but no longer. VR and AR technologies are being used for everything ranging from teaching anatomy to students, to helping Alzheimer's patients, to improving precision in surgery. VRARA has assembled some of the most transformative new companies that are improving medical practices and treatments and an exciting pace and showing measurably improved results.

-- Shel Israel, Author of The Fourth Transformation

New Research Shows Heal-ium XR Changes Brain to Reduce Anxiety 2 published studies examine future of VRceuticals

Heal-ium is the world’s first XR product powered by a brain-computer interface. It allows the user to control the virtual and augmented reality environments with their thoughts. See attached release about the recently released Frontiers in Psychology and Journal of Neuroregulation published studies.
— Sarah Hill, CEO StoryUP
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Media Contact: hello@story-up.com tryhealium.com

Two new studies published in Frontiers in Psychology and the Journal of Neuroregulation show the therapeutic potential of virtual reality to change brain patterns and trigger a physiological reduction in anxiety. The full article published in Frontiers in Psychology section Human-Media Interaction, examined changes in specific brain frequencies associated with the stress response using Healium, a new VR and AR channel powered by the user’s emotions.

“Results demonstrated that both a quiet rest control condition and the VR meditation significantly reduced subjective reports of anxiety and increased Alpha power. However, the VR intervention uniquely resulted in shifting proportional power from higher Beta frequencies into lower Beta frequencies, and significantly reduced broadband Beta activity in the anterior cingulate cortex. These effects are consistent with a physiological reduction of anxiety.” - Frontiers in Psychology, Human Media Interaction July 2018, Neuromeditation Institute

According to its blog, Frontiers is the most-cited multidisciplinary Psychology Journal in the world. This study conducted by the Neuromeditation Institute examined the brain activity of patients with self-reported moderate anxiety before and after a brief mindfulness in nature experience produced by StoryUP XR.

The Journal of Neuroregulation also published an article on Healium’s ability to increase gamma asymmetry in a small group of firefighters. Gamma asymmetry is associated with feelings of positivity. You can read the full article here.

Healium, a product of StoryUP XR, is a channel that includes a variety of VR and augmented reality experiences as well as the world's first XR experiences powered by your brain. The user is able to see their own brainwave patterns control assets inside VR goggles or on their smartphones. They’re able to hatch butterflies from a chrysalis or float up a waterfall with their gamma asymmetry which is associated with feelings of positivity. Healium is currently being used worldwide in areas of stress.

The experiences are made with Unity, Unreal Engine, Apple’s AR kit, Android’s ARcore, and StoryUP’s patent-pending technology.

StoryUP started in 2014 as a way to help aging Veterans see their memorials. Healium kits are used in enterprise from healthcare to sailors in the US Navy. In addition to positivity, the stories

and affirmations about empathy, mindfulness, and motivation span five continents. Healium products support Honor Everywhere, a free VR program for terminally ill and aging Veterans who are no longer able to physically travel to see their memorials in Washington, DC.

For more information, please visit tryhealium.com or email hello@story-up.com.

VR/AR Healthcare Best Practices White Paper

To receive a copy of this white paper, enter your email here: 



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Virtual & Augmented Reality (VR/AR) are immersive technologies that provide new and powerful ways for people to generate, use and interact with digital information. These technologies take traditional media beyond conventional screens. Photographic images, video or computer-generated graphics (sometimes provided as a 360-degree view within your field of vision) are melded in a new interactive medium that can be used for business, entertainment, research, education, data visualization and other applications yet to be imagined.

Healthcare is one of the top 5 use cases for VR/AR. Practitioners and entrepreneurs in traditional medicine, medical education, and health and wellness verticals are exploring practical use cases for everything from surgical planning to 3D anatomy lessons to pain mitigation.

The nascent medical VR/AR industry is multi-faceted. Tech companies are looking for markets, physicians are looking for applications, and medical institutions are looking for innovative tools to differentiate themselves and provide better patient care. While there is still a perception out there that VR/AR is a consumer product for entertainment and gaming, the healthcare industry is waking up to the transformative power of these technologies for patients and providers alike.

This paper is intended to help you understand key challenges to designing and commercializing VR/AR solutions for the healthcare industry.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 Blend Science and Technology Through Partnerships
3 Champion a Clinical Perspective
4 Validate Your Approach
5 Obtain Grants and Funding
6 Address Barriers in the Real World
7 Know Your Buyer
8 Summary

Support our Kickstarter campaign for Interventionville

Dear reader

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    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.

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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.

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Best Regards,


Matt Prekupec

Founder, Order 66 Labs


VR AR in Healthcare is the Future of Care and the Future is Now. Read about VRARA Members Leading the Way

Join our Healthcare Committee here 

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Gone are the days of trial and error practice on ‘real’ patients, for medical students and mature Doctors alike. Thankfully for all of us who might be either getting a routine procedure done or nervous about an invasive complex surgery; we can rest a little easier knowing our Medical Professionals have probably practiced and honed their skills in VR. The technology is finally giving healthcare the tools it desperately needs to improve training, provide services in a virtual environment, and educate patients.

Companies like Precision OS Technology, enables users to perform critical aspects of fracture surgery in an immersive, highly realistic setting; which allows for repetition and objective performance measures.  Likewise, Trois Prime Lab provides VR Training procedures including knee surgery, hip replacements and sleeve gastrectomy. Similarly, one of the benefits of immersive technology is that the user feels the same amount of mental pressure and physical stressors of a procedure in a modified environment tailored to meet the requirements of specific real-life situations. In effect, VR/AR environmental simulations are giving healthcare professionals the vital experience they need when performing under adverse emergency and natural disaster conditions.

For example, the Thomas Jefferson University DICE initiative is preparing providers to work successfully in high-acuity disaster and emergency situations.  In addition, the company INVIVO, enables Surgical Simulation with full interactive large-scale medical devices to smaller hand tools in a typical operating room environment. Both help practitioners know what to expect and prepares them to work efficiently in varied circumstances and environments.

With an aging large generation of baby boomers, in conjunction with average population medical needs, there are not enough Doctors to keep up with the overall demand of care. As a good first step, VR/AR can now enable some medical services to be performed in a virtual environment. For example, the VRHealth Group VRPhysio enables a series of full-body exercises for physical rehab, stimulates patients to perform specific movements and provides real-time data to track progress.

Thomas Jefferson University DICE initiative also provides rehab in VR for cardiac patients. The gamified experiences provide immediate feedback and encouragement to help patients stick with their rehab program, while tracking real-time data and  generating progress reports. This can be used for supervised remote in-home care. Some other companies in VR/AR medical services include VR4Neuropain, which combines VR headsets with haptic feedback and bio-medical sensors to integrate virtual and conventional rehabilitation for neuropathic pain; and RelaxVR which provides immersive experiences for stress relief and behavior modification.

One of the biggest issues in healthcare is lack of staff and funding to educate patients on a myriad of programs to improve their outcomes and overall health. VR/AR applications are tackling this problem by educating patients before and after medical treatment. Many Doctors agree that mental preparation before a procedure is just a critical for the patient, as is the surgeon. The company IKONA for example, provides immersive pre-op VR experiences for patients and medical personnel to address factors that may improve patient outcomes. Another patient application geared for aftercare, is an AR enabled pill box that helps heavy prescribed patients order and manage their medication schedule. This can reduce post-op anxiety and give the user a sense of control over their lives. Also helping educate patients in VR/AR is Order 66 Labs; which provides simulations of mutual help groups for patients with addiction seen in hospital. As a result, patients are more likely to participate in these groups after discharge.

Ultimately, healthcare is adapting to the changing needs of the population by creating new tools and methods of care. VR/AR is helping in training, providing services and of course, education. Never before have opportunities in healthcare had such a reach and impact in people’s lives. Even in remote places like the Pacific region, VR in healthcare is making a difference. The company Second Muse Legends, created interactive narratives that teach children and their families about traditional eating and how to make healthy food choices to combat obesity. VR/AR in healthcare is the future of care and the future is now.

Join our Healthcare Committee here 

Watch the Recording of our Symposium: VR & AR in Healthcare

The VR/AR Association Healthcare Committee has produced this online event that was attended live by 500 doctors, specialists, and executives from around the world.  

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Medical Education in 360 Video and Virtual Reality

By Brandon Birckhead MD, Co-Chair and Betsy Eble, Rafael Grossmann, Adriana Albritton, Participants of the VRARA Digital Health Committee 

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In the media, you may have heard “Running a Code” which is a protocol that is used when the patient's heart stops pumping. This procedure is taught in every medical school and is called Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS).   It is usually first taught in a simulation center with robotic patients and several team members. Each person has a different duty during the code including: performing CPR, obtaining vitals, managing airway, drawing up/giving medications, writing down the information of event, and one person to take lead in the situation. When the real thing happens these situations are intense and the room is packed with people.

How 360 degree video could be useful for Medical Education

Healthcare providers could replay their own simulated codes with a system that can help guide them to the correct course of action during the replay of the video. One could add arrows to point to areas that need attention first, i.e. the airway. The program could pause at critical moments to allow for input of options available to provider.  A program could be built to test the student at the end of the replay using a “center of focus” heat map to find what steps they missed during the review. It may not be needed to have customized video for each healthcare staff member in training. A single recording may provide a significant benefit for provider training, however it would be interesting to see an experiment of the comparison.

One way to study this process is by placing the 360-degree camera where the head of the patient would be. Seeing things from the patient perspective can be quite humbling to see how your body language is perceived from their view point. Research has shown that a feeling of empathy can be invoked by a 360 video placed at the users point of view. Also it’s the one of the best positions for a three 360-degree video as the patient is usually in the middle of the room allow full use of 360 degree experience.

Another idea is to place of 2 or more of the inexpensive 360 video cameras would allow the student to change perspective during playback. This could be similar to the 360-video experience created by Intel (True VR) for MLB. Benefits would include the empathy gained from patient placement, a 3rd person view using an overhead camera to view all movement patterns and the placement of equipment staff during the Code and any additional placements that might benefit the student being trained. Adding in bio-feedback sensors to the simulations may help identify procedures, duties, situations of higher stress to the participants such as breaking bad news or assessing a dangerous situation.  Integration of multiple scenarios or scenario branches integrated into a learning management system/single simulation would allow students to interact with the learning module. The students could be given a list of actions that each would start a new simulation.

Another interesting idea is the use of Eye Tracking technology. I've been working with VPS , a company that has a simple looking pair of glasses that track the focal point of view of the user. Integrating the "3d person view", the student would be able to see themselves in  360 camera.  With this technology the analysis of where she was looking during the task, can have immense learning potential.

360 Video Success

One of the most successful startups in the VR industry, StriVR, uses 360 degree technology to train people to perform better at a task. They have had NFL teams, college teams, and major corporation as clients. Quarterbacks are able to go over plays many more times than just on the field. Now they are providing this technology to train Walmart employee.

Athletes become better by practicing. And being able to repeat movements and visualize situations without having to deal with a harsh environment or contact from an opposing team provides a competitive advantage. In the same manner, a person becomes more proficient and more able to master a skill by becoming more familiar with essential tools, viewing different perspectives, and playing diverse roles in a scenario. Practicing and role playing, also, diminish the shock and stress reaction that takes place when first responding to a crisis situation. Interactive experiences provided by 360 video and immersive VR can make learning much more comprehensive and deeply ingrained in your memory.

Interactive VR Experience

There is a company making an interactive VR experience for medical education, BioflightVR. The company has an emergency pediatric program that is similar to scenario stated above.  It would be interesting to see the outcomes of both a 360 degree program and an interactive VR program. I imagine there there is more information gained by assessment and possibly more retention with the interactive VR program. However, a study could find them to be comparable. The advantage 360-video has over interactive VR is time needed to create the experience. If every hospital wanted to have specific simulations for each student it could not be done with the current methods of creating an interactive VR experience. However, 360 degree video equipment has advanced substantially and Medical Simulation Centers have several staff members that can handle video equipment.

There are several questions that could be examined in a research study to evaluate the use of this technology:

1)     How does a 360-video feedback program compare to traditional video feedback for teaching medical students in regards to retention, preference, and assessment?

2)    Does placement of 360 video affect the outcomes when using 360-degree video for feedback (ie from patient perspective vs center of room vs physician lead position)?

a.     Secondary outcome: Is there an increase in empathy for patient with placement at patient perspective?  

3)    If medical students or residents take home 360-degree video for repeated playback over a set period of time does it have an impact on long term memory of protocol (Intervention during 2nd year medical school with assessment in 4th year)?

4)    Are there improved outcomes (retention of knowledge, preference by student, and  assessment by teacher) in using recorded simulations for each student vs a single simulated recording?

We are currently working with the other VRARA Digital Health Committee members to improve on this idea.


Virtual Reality in Healthcare

By Vanessa Radd, Singapore Chapter President

Virtual reality has most often been associated with gaming while other sectors such as healthcare and education where VR can play a major role, has been overlooked.

In our recent VR in Healthcare session with Samsung, the XR Alliance and VR AR Association shared VRARA's findings from the latter's Digital Healthcare Committee in the U.S.A.

Understandably, funding is ranked as the top challenge.

In the next group of challenges, workflows of clinical organizations are cited - they need to change and adapt. Circumventing through organizational challenges to implement a new workflow for VR is a major barrier. Of course, the lack of VR/AR knowledge and VR/AR research is where we are at now. And the lack of data and research for VR in the APAC markets is even more so stark.

Each region would have different cultural barriers in terms of acceptance of new technology. Something to bear in mind when implementing new tech in new markets.

Use cases

MindMaze uses VR and AR to treat Parkinsons patients, amputees and stroke victims. Their VR solutions seek to help these patients to train their brain to stimulate limb movements.

Applied VR embarked on a VR trial that looks into alleviating pain management via interactive games and relaxing landscapes in 150 clinical organizations.

Cambridge University's research lab is working on rendering 3D VR treatment for cancer. With VR, they are able to study cancer tumors in 3D to come up with better treatments.

Birmingham University's VR research team, led by Bob Stone (a founding member of the XR Alliance), is looking into the use of VR for restorative therapy and, more recently, for lower limb rehabilitation and lung/diaphragm recovery support for patients in intensive care.  

In Singapore, Side Effects Asia Pacific Pte Ltd is working on VR technology systems for advanced clinical training. It simulates medical emergency scenarios in 3D to train medical students in highly stressful, decision-making scenarios.

Other examples of VR for healthcare are treating PTSD patients, ticking off bucket lists(!), pain alleviation while in the dentist chair...we are in an experimental age indeed.

We continue the discussion and maintain these questions as we work with industry players and partners.

  • How can healthcare leap into VR?
  • How can the company's technology be integrated into and optimized for clinical workflows?

Special thanks to Funan our event partner. Follow FunanSG on Facebook and Instagram.

Key Challenges to Adoption of VR/AR for Healthcare

For more info, contact us


In April, the VRARA Digital Health Committee conducted an industry survey.  Our goal was to understand the current state of the VR/AR healthcare market and identify challenges to adopting VR/AR healthcare solutions.

In one question, we compiled a list of common hurdles to innovation and adoption of VR/AR healthcare solutions and asked respondents to rank them based on how significant each was to them, on a scale of 0 - 5 (five being “very significant”, zero being “not at all significant.”)

Our sample was small but we think reasonable conclusions can be drawn.  Below are the median rankings for each of 12 challenges, in order of significance.  (Note:  while this first round was illuminating, we’re planning subsequent surveys to do a deeper dive into some of these key issues in the near future.)

Monetary/Funding Issues

(Significant Challenge: 4 out of 5)

Many of the respondents are startups developing AR/VR content, eyewear, or end-to-end solutions. So it’s not surprising that money and funding for product development, research and other marketing costs are at the top of the list. VR/AR for healthcare is still in its infancy, in search of technology innovators and visionaries willing to demo, refine and evangelize widely marketable applications. Given the obvious benefits of various emerging VR/AR technologies including pain diminution, surgical planning and practice, 3D radiological imaging and medical education, we’re confident that it won’t be long before customers and investors start to invest in best-in-class solutions. 

Committee members have noticed that hospitals are increasing budgets for clinical simulation centers to allow them to purchase VR/AR equipment. Third party companies that work with medical organizations are starting to budget for VR/AR solutions as well.

Technical limitations; Organizational Issues; Lack of Knowledge / Research (Moderately Significant Challenges: 3 out of 5)

Technical limitations

This is a broad category and responses reflect a multitude of use cases.  For some, the size of VR systems limits their use in certain clinical settings.  For others, mobile VR platforms can only provide so much immersion with a pocket size computer. Computer specifications and resolution of available devices can also be limiting factors for some medical centers.  VRARA Digital Health committee members are working on near-term solutions to these challenges. This is another area that we feel confident will improve over time as Moore’s law and market competition lead to improvements in both size and power.

Clinical organizational issues

You’ve probably heard that healthcare is a hard industry to change, and not lacking in bureaucracy. Electronic medical records, for example, have been in use at major hospitals for almost two decades, yet there are many places that still use paper charts.

Committee members and respondents identified several aspects of modern clinical organizations that can impede adoption of VR/AR technologies in healthcare, such as:  availability of and access to infrastructure (i.e. bluetooth connectivity);  platform friction (compatibility of VR/AR software with other healthcare software, EMR issues, and privacy issues);  and procurement procedures (vendor relations, lengthy and complex public tender processes, and arduous hospital board decision making processes.)

AR solutions are likely to be adopted more quickly due to decreased platform friction of widely-adopted smartphone technologies.  But it’s our guess that clinical organizational issues are likely to be some of the hardest (and slowest) issues to resolve.

Lack of knowledge

About VR/AR and its uses for your end users/customers

This is an area of particular interest for the VRARA committee. Many of our contacts and colleagues have heard of VR/AR being used for gaming and entertainment, but are unaware of the medical use cases and the research behind them. Disseminating this knowledge is an important goal of the committee. We know many people say they “get it” as soon as they demo VR/AR for the first time because it’s very intuitive, but most patients and providers have never had a live VR/AR experience. Understanding immersion is best done through one’s own eyes.  


Lack of enough research studies around VR/AR in healthcare

A quick search of research studies shows over 3536 publications with “virtual reality” or “augmented reality” or “mixed reality” in the title since 1991. However, depending on the clinical use case there may only be a handful of useful studies.  AR/MR tech is so new that only a small fraction of published research (574) examines its use in healthcare. Several areas still need randomized control trials to show evidence for mainstream adoption of AR/VR/MR by healthcare providers.


Regulation, Resistance, & Market Forces

Somewhat significant:  2 out of 5

Regulation/Insurance/Policy issues

Regulatory, insurance and policy issues always pose major hurdles for those working in healthcare. We’re speculating that they’re not more significant for responders right now because many times, regulation comes after wide-scale adoption. It’s on everyone’s minds, but we may not see a significant amount of red tape until VR/AR is more widely used in healthcare.

Resistance to new technology with end user/customers

The baby boomers still make up the largest percent of population by generation. Thus, they make up a large portion of both healthcare providers and patients. Nevertheless, reluctance to try new tech doesn’t seem to be a major concern for most respondents.  There could be several reasons why this is true: for one thing, the majority of companies that responded are not making products or content for a specific demographic so age isn’t relevant.  Second, physicians are typically early adopters of both professional and consumer tech, and interest in this new technology is high.

Market Issues and Cultural Obstacles (cultural competency)

Several respondents cited geographic and cultural obstacles as they try to market products in multiple countries, and a few mentioned resistance from Pharma to tech-based therapeutics.  While it wasn’t called out as a major challenge we think it’s still important to keep culture in mind, especially given the international make-up of both the medical and VR/AR innovation communities.  


Lack of Interest, Concern About Side Effects

Minimal Challenge: 1 out of 5

Lack of interest in VR/AR amongst patients and healthcare staff is of little concern to providers for now.  As Facebook, Google, Oculus, Samsung and Sony continue to aggressively market VR/AR experiences for consumers, more people will be exposed to it and interest will grow.  That said, patient demand and pull-through will eventually have a powerful influence on administrative and clinical decision-makers.

Early VR studies (in the 2000’s) caused a minority of patients to report feeling nauseous when using immersive VR.  Over time, improved graphics, frame rates and game design have fixed some of the problems that caused that particular side effect and it seems to be less of a problem today. Motion sickness may continue to be a problem for a shrinking percent of populations studied, but is not a significant issue for this group of respondents.

VRARA Digital Health Committee Industry Survey Results

The VRARA Digital Health Committee conducted an initial industry survey for companies making VR/AR products in healthcare among healthcare providers. The goal was to understand current state of VR/AR healthcare market and identify challenges to adopting VR/AR healthcare solutions. The results are shown below. For a detailed slide presentation of the survey and Committee's work, including action steps, contact us. 

Those in the VR/AR community are looking forward to the day that VR/AR becomes mainstream. Currently the technology is starting to be used in the Enterprise settings, but the healthcare industry has many of its own unique challenges. Achieving mainstream adoption in healthcare will require overcoming several hurdles. Each needs to be understood in detail if we hope to increase the rate of progress. Thus, The VRARA Digital Health Committee is dedicated to understanding the challenges around bringing VRAR to healthcare so that the solutions can be seen.
— Brandon Birckhead, Immergence Tech

Thank you to all who answered the survey and to the Committee participants, and special thanks to Brandon Birckhead of ImmergenceTech, George of Mativision, Paula of Amalgamated Vision, Dom of Corporation Pop, Ali of Cinglevue, Henry of Corvecto and Amy of endeavorVR for making this Publication possible. Graphics made by Ada Chiu. 

Dr. Brandon Birckhead talks about Distraction Therapy

Dr. Brandon Birckhead of Immergence Tech joins the podcast to talk about distraction therapy and the benefits of virtual and augmented reality technology in the medical and dental industries.

Also learn more about his new company, Immergence Tech, as well as cold pressor immersion testing as it relates to distraction therapy. We also learn why Dr. Birckhead made the decision to join the VR/AR Association Digital Healthcare Committee.

Listen here

Healthcare Solutions in VR AR MR

People are constantly asking how to move forward or more to the point, what’s beyond the hype in the VR industry? So let me say that what is clearly gaining traction in the market is improved Health Solutions. People want more, faster, and less evasive diagnostic, treatment and technology options.

The VRARA Digital Health Committee is proof. Since the inception of the committee, both companies and healthcare professionals wanted in. The goal is to develop and share best practices as the industry matures.

Everyone from Medical Doctors to private companies are participating to build tangible tools based on real use cases. The entire process of the patient journey; not to mention education both for patients and medical personnel alike is being parsed and planned.

As an example of the possibilities on this topic, we need look no further than  Cambridge University; who is now working on a program to render 3D VR treatment for cancer.

“We want to create an interactive, faithful, 3D map of tumors that can be studied in virtual reality that scientists can ‘walk into’ and look at it in great detail,” said lead researcher Greg Hannon in a Cambridge news post.

A 3D model would be ideal for researches to study and analyze with in-depth precision; showing the minutia of the cancer which has never done before.

“I think this is the very cutting edge of how people will in the future understand not only cancer but organismal development,” said Hannon in a video from the university.

This and more medical research utilizing VR/AR & MR is now happening and hopefully setting the new standard in excellence of care.

VRARA Digital Health Committee

Written by Craig Stanland, Virtual Reality Observer

To people outside of the industry Virtual Reality (VR) is most commonly associated with gaming. While the technological investments and forward progress in gaming carries benefits for all other industries, news outside of gaming is often overlooked.

VR has already had a major impact on all the major industries including, Architecture and Design, Entertainment, Education and the Health industry. Health is particularly of interest to us due to its overall impact on society. Better health care practices benefit us all.

The healthcare Industry has increasingly been turning to simulation and the virtual world for training and education of its staff.

With its launch of the Digital health VR AR committee the VR/AR Association has acknowledged the importance and impact of VR on the Healthcare industry. The committee will create best practices, guidelines, and call to actions (e.g., recommendations for standards) for VR AR in Digital Health, Medical, Healthcare, and Education.

With 10 industry experts already on the committee, they are off to a great start. Still in the early stages the 10 experts are crafting a working doc which will set the foundation for the committee moving forward.

The VR/AR Association (VRARA) is the global industry association for Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality, connecting leading solution providers with brands and customers. VRARA goals are to accelerate growth, foster research and education, and help develop industry standards, connect member organizations and promotes the services of member companies.

“This Digital Health Industry Committee already has representatives from Meta Co, Medical Realities, Mativision, doctors and surgeons like Rafael J. Grossmann, MD, FACS and Shafi Ahmed PhD FRCS, and digital health experts like John Nosta, indicating the importance of this vertical and the industry’s willingness to work together to accelerate the VR AR industry with smart growth.“ Kris Kolo, Global Executive Director of the VRARA.

This is an amazing opportunity for health care professional to participate in the early stages of this emerging technology and practice. You can be a part of change that benefits us all.

The first official kickoff call for this Industry Committee is being scheduled at the end of January, early February. Anyone who’s interested in DIgital Health/education/healthcare should join.

Interested to learn more or participate? Email kris@thevrara.com

Original article was published by VR Observer