Tag Archives: virtual reality

Can An mHealth Kit Improve Outcomes in Workers Comp Treatment?

Cedars-Sinai will be testing a digital pain reduction kit, which includes VR glasses and mHealth wearables, to see if mobile health technology can replace opioids for people recovering from workplace injuries.

 By Eric Wicklund

 – Cedars-Sinai Medical Center is participating in a study to determine whether an mHealth kit containing wearables and a pair of virtual reality glasses can help people suffering from work-related injuries recover more quickly and without the use of opioids.

patient in hospital wearing VR glasses for article, Can An mHealth Kit Improve Outcomes in Workers Comp Treatment?

Researchers at the Los Angeles hospital are partnering with Samsung Electronics America, Bayer, appliedVR and The Travelers Companies for the 16-mointh study, which will put the “digital pain-reduction kit” in the hands of between 90 and 140 participants.

“Workplace injuries that lead to chronic pain can cause ongoing issues, as an injured employee may mask pain with opioids or other drugs,” Dr. Melissa Burke, Travelers’ National Pharmacy Director, said in a press release. “

Identifying new, non-pharmacologic alternatives for pain reduction  can help an injured employee avoid chronic pain, lower the chances that they will develop a dangerous opioid addiction and reduce medical costs.”

Led by Brennan Spiegel, MD, MSHS, Director of Health Services Research for Cedars-Sinai and a professor of medicine and public health at UCLA, Cedars-Sinai has been one of the leadersin studying the application of virtual reality tools and other mHealth devices in healthcare, focusing particularly on digital therapeutics.

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OvidVR Uses Virtual Reality for Surgical Training on Hip and Knee Replacements

Can immersive virtual reality (VR) be used to prep medical students and surgical residents for the operating room? OvidVR hopes to do just that with its Ovid-Total Knee Arthroplasty and Ovid-Total Hip Arthroplasty VR simulations.

photo of VR training for surgeons doing hip or knee replacementsJust launched in May 2017, the development team is promoting OvidVR as a safe surgical training environment with hyperrealistic simulation. The team hopes to reportedly “fill a clear gap in simulation based medical training.” It’s not meant to replace the traditional cadaver lab, but rather complement it, a common theme I’ve run across in studying how VR may be utilized in the medical field. Additionally, OvidVR isn’t meant to be a solitary training tool, as it features multi-user co-op mode.

Furthermore, user performance analytics are built into the software, potentially allowing attendings and other supervisors of trainees to provide feedback on surgical skills.

Current OvidVR demonstration videos feature the surgical training software running on the HTC Vive platform, however, the Oculus Rift system is also shown in product photos (both are supported per OvidVR staff). Their entire setup is supposedly able to be a “complete mobile set up , everything fits inside of a backpack, giving you the freedom to learn at home or office”, which would likely require at least a laptop to power the hardware running the VR simulation as well as the headset and trackers.

While the current market of VR surgical simulation training program is nowhere as crowded as the general medical app genre, OvidVR isn’t the only player. OssoVR (also orthopedics focused, just landed $2million in seed funding) and FundamentalVR (which incorporates a heavy dose of haptics with their VR model for surgery training) are some of the other alternatives. While not specifically for surgery, SimX offers another take on medical training using mobile VR.

The entertainment industry has recently helped make immersive VR more accessible for all, and the future of this technology in the medical field appears bright.

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What do Surgeons and Elevators Technicians Have in Common?

There is no excuse today for the surgeon to learn on the patient” — William J. Mayo, 1927.

For a long time, in medicine, this was the only way to learn.
Luckily for doctors and patients, we now have the ability to integrate visualization, computing, performance measures and simulated procedures.

AR can help surgeons become more efficient at surgeries, as well as train them safely without having to use actual humans.

For example, though AR an accurate 3-dimensional reconstruction of the body can be created, empowering surgeons with a sort of x-ray vision (in real time, and without radiation!)

One of the barriers to developing virtual and augmented reality surgical simulation has been the large amount of computing capacity required to remove delays in signal processing. Also fortunately for us, systems that break down tasks are addressing the issue, and as A.I. gets more and more intelligent, we are certainly heading towards a healthcare revolution. Imagine what will happen once quantum computing is here!

So, what do surgeons and elevator technicians have in common? They can both benefit enormously from AR.

ThyssenKrupp, the big elevator company, is trying out the HoloLens with its elevator maintenance teams. Techinicians can use AR to dig into the problems of thousands of different configurations and millions of parts that make the elevators they maintain. And they can do it more quickly and safely.

With AR, you are looking through the headset at the real thing, augmented with additional information. There’s no substitute for learning on the spot. AR puts the equipment in the hands of the person.

On-the-job training can be taken to a whole new level thanks to AR. Imagine a new hire faced with in real-world situations in which they must perform their job duties. Millions of new employees could be trained using these technologies. Seems like hyper-training, for good or bad, is here to stay.


VR at its best shouldn’t replace real life, just modify it, giving us access to so much just out of reach physically, economically. If you can dream it, VR can make it. — MATTHEW SCHNIPPER, “Seeing Is Believing: The State of Virtual Reality”

Augmented reality is truly revolutionizing the way we interact with information, with our history and the world around us. Its availability makes it the perfect tool for small-scale grandeur.

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