We create medical extended reality (MXR) apps at Cedars-Sinai using an iterative methodology. Our therapeutic software is rigorously developed and validated using a three-phase process, summarized below (read more):
VR1 studies focus on content development by working with patient and provider end-users through principles of human-centered design.
VR2 trials conduct early testing with a focus on feasibility, acceptability, tolerability, and initial clinical efficacy.
VR3 trials are randomized controlled trials that compare clinically important outcomes between intervention and control condition.
VR Solace was designed to distract people from pain and help them relax. Choose to virtually travel to one of eight beautiful and unique scenes. Along with soothing music and tranquil sound effects, unexpected delights keep things interesting and engaging. Watch the video, below, for a montage of scenes from VR Solace. We are currently testing this app in our NIH sponsored study of virtual reality for chronic GI cancer pain (read more).
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects nearly 10% of the world’s population and undermines physical, emotional and social wellbeing. Although medical treatments can be effective, research shows that mind-body treatments such as meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and biofeedback can boost quality of life, reduce visceral anxiety, and promote healthy living for people suffering from IBS. Using the latest in virtual reality technology, coupled with the science of mind-body medicine, IBS/VR surrounds each user within virtual environments designed to strengthen the brain-gut axis and improve quality of life.
Instead of patients always reporting to the clinic, with IBS/VR the clinic comes to the patient. From the comfort of their own home, patients explore a virtual clinic with specialized treatment rooms unlike anything possible in an ordinary clinic. Here’s the IBS/VR clinic layout:
In the Exam Room, patients switch roles and become a doctor caring for a patient with IBS while they learn about brain-gut connections, the gut microbiome, and other physiologic contributors to IBS symptoms.
The Chill Room offers meditative breaks that help patients learn how to control their gut rather than their gut controlling their life. Users relax hovering over a peaceful sunrise desert or a tranquil mountain lake while practicing belly breathing skills and imagery exercises that leverage natural mind-gut connections.
In Theater of the Mind, users enter a movie theater like no other: the theater is their own mind. Patients learn how the scenes projected in the theater represent their own thoughts. In the process of exploring their mind, patients discover how to manage their thoughts about IBS in a way that supports gut health.
For some people, having IBS can feel like a lonely struggle. But patients with IBS are not alone. In the Zoom Room, patients gain perspective about the community of people with IBS, discover that millions of people feel the same way as they do, and then use that perspective to talk about IBS in a way only IBS/VR can make possible. You’ve just got to experience this room to understand what we mean.
Other treatment rooms like Pain Blaster, Belly Balloon, and Belly Biofeedback employ a range of VR treatment paradigms to help manage acute pain attacks, reduce abdominal discomfort, and offer biosensor-enabled gut biofeedback. In the Classroom, patients learn more about the science of IBS, while in the Trophy Room users monitor their progress and achievements as they progress through the IBS/VR clinic.
IBS/VR is currently undergoing intensive testing with IBS patients. Stay tuned for more updates as we work to make IBS/VR available to all.