Is Clinical Virtual Reality Ready for Primetime?

Since the mid-1990s, a significant scientific literature has evolved regarding the outcomes from the use of what we now refer to as Clinical Virtual Reality (VR). This use of VR simulation technology has produced encouraging results when applied to address cognitive, psychological, motor, and functional impairments across a wide range of clinical health conditions. This presentation addresses the question, “Is Clinical VR Ready for Primetime?” After a brief description of the various forms of VR technology, I will discuss the trajectory of Clinical VR over the last 20 years and summarize the basic assets that VR offers for creating clinical applications. The discussion then addresses the question of readiness in terms of the theoretical basis for Clinical VR assets, the research to date, the pragmatic factors regarding availability, usability, and costs of Clinical VR content/systems. This will be presented in the context of descriptions and video examples of applications addressing Anxiety Disorders, PTSD, Addiction, Depression, Pain Management, Stroke, TBI, ADHD, Autism, and Virtual Human applications for clinical training and patient facing healthcare support. Ethical issues for the safe use of VR with clinical populations will then be detailed. While there is still much research needed to advance the science in this area, I will make the case that Clinical VR applications are in fact “ready for primetime” and will soon become indispensable tools in the toolbox of healthcare researchers and practitioners and will grow in relevance and popularity in the near future as the technology continues to evolve.

Cast

Albert "Skip" Rizzo
Speaker

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