The Promise of Virtual Reality in Healthcare: Part Two

Posted by Todd Maddox & Tim Fitzpatrick on Oct 10, 2019 11:51:31 AM
VR Applications in Patient Education and Healthcare Professional Training

The goal of all hospital administrators and medical personnel is to provide the highest quality of care that results in the best possible health outcomes for their patients. Increasingly, this drive for value also means improving a now-measurable patient experience.  Ensuring healthcare providers are highly-trained and competent in all critical aspects of their given domains will surely increase qualitative measures of patient satisfaction, but this is only one part of the equation. Crucially, experience itself centers around a patient’s understanding and familiarization with the upcoming medical treatments and procedures.

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Topics: Training, Satisfaction, Staff Training, Stress, Patient Education, Kidney Care

The Promise of Virtual Reality in Healthcare: Part One

Posted by Todd Maddox & Tim Fitzpatrick on Sep 25, 2019 8:27:27 PM
The Neuroscience and Four Use Cases

For the past few years, we have been watching, and working to facilitate, the evolution of virtual reality (VR) in healthcare. We even built a Learning Hub on the IKONA Health website where we collect and curate peer-reviewed basic science research. In that time, we have witnessed the expansion of VR across healthcare as the number of use cases and success stories seemingly grow by the month, day, and experience.

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Topics: Training, Learning, Neuroscience, Staff Training, Stress, Patient Education, Empathy

Why VR Provides An Ideal Tool For Kidney Care Education

Posted by Todd Maddox & Tim Fitzpatrick on Aug 18, 2019 8:24:29 PM
Why Virtual Reality Provides an Ideal Tool for Kidney Care Education | Speeding the Time to Dialysis Modality Switch
Kidney disease ranks as the ninth leading cause of death in America. Approximately 20% of dollars in traditional Medicare—$114 billion a year—are spent on Americans with kidney disease. For patients who require dialysis, which typically happens when you have only 10 to 15 percent of your kidney function left, hemodialysis is the most common modality. In fact, approximately 90% of kidney dialysis patients are on hemodialysis in a hospital or dialysis center setting.
There is a second dialysis option available to patients called peritoneal dialysis that is done at home. Peritoneal dialysis is more cost effective than hemodialysis and often provides patients with more flexibility and freedom when compared to the hemodialysis regimen. Despite the cost and quality of life advantages of peritoneal dialysis, only 10% of kidney patients use peritoneal dialysis.
Federal Governments around the world have long been aware of the cost and quality issues associated with providing dialysis treatment options — for most patients in the United States, Medicare pays 80 percent of all dialysis charges. A recently announced mandate aims to improve care quality and reduce costs in part by drastically increasing home dialysis usage. From an education, training and decision-making standpoint the current modality imbalance is problematic. Since patients frequently start in a hospital or in-center setting, they become biased to follow the path of least resistance and remain on the modality and routine where they began. Add to this the fact that all decisions in kidney care are multilateral, involving nephrologists, patients and care providers, and depend greatly on patient motivations. It is for all of these reasons that education is so critical to quality in kidney care.  Patients need high-quality and highly-effective educational experiences in order to make the decision to switch modalities.
By far the most common approach to dialysis education, like in most other domains of care, is to have patients read documents describing the treatment. For example, the kidney  patient might read a document that provides a general overview of in-center hemodialysis (HD) and aspects of the patient’s lifestyle that might change as a result of the HD treatments. Similarly, the patient might read another document that provides a general overview of peritoneal dialysis (PD), including the steps associated with performing a PD treatment, certain safety measures that are specific to conducting dialysis treatments at home, and the dispelling of common myths associated with PD.
From a psychology and neuroscience perspective, this text-based approach engages only the cognitive skills learning system in the brain. From this 2D static, abstract, text-based information, the cognitive skills learning system in the brain must attempt to construct a rich 3D dynamic visual and emotional representation of what in-clinic and in-home dialysis are like “in real life”. Even when supplemented with drawings or 2D video, this is a nearly impossible task and one that is prone to error.
Thus, modality switches from expensive and restrictive hemodialysis to the less expensive and more flexible peritoneal dialysis will be infrequent, and the time to decision will be long.
Now consider an interactive storytelling with VR approach to dialysis modality education. Suppose that a 360 VR experience was created in which the patient could experience in-clinic and in-home dialysis from a first-person perspective (i.e., that of the patient) and a third-person perspective (i.e., that of a loved one). While immersed in this experience, a narrative unfolds for the patient that describes the relevant steps while the patient is experiencing them, and includes narrative regarding the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.
From a psychology and neuroscience perspective, this approach engages the cognitive, experiential and emotional learning systems in the brain. Critically, a VR approach like this engages all three brain systems simultaneously and in concert. The cognitive learning system is being engaged and is storing the procedural overview and step-by-step procedure. Experiential learning takes place simultaneously because the patient is experiencing first-hand and third-person the dialysis procedure. Emotional learning is occurring because the patient is “walking a mile in a dialysis patient’s shoes” during the VR experience. Supplement this with a strong narrative and compelling storytelling, and VR offers the highest quality information for patient decision making.
This is a perfect use case for interactive storytelling with VR. Kidney dialysis providers can use this tool to more quickly meet the federal mandate to increase peritoneal dialysis utilization, while patients simultaneously reap the benefits of improved care quality along with the ability to make faster and more confident modality switch decisions — one experience at a time.
 
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Topics: Training, Learning, Neuroscience, Staff Training, Patient Education, Workforce, Kidney Care

Reducing The Negative Impact of Stress on Patient Education

Posted by Tim Fitzpatrick & Todd Maddox on Apr 14, 2019 10:07:33 AM

Consider any one of the thousands of individuals who visit their doctor annually and are informed that they need to undergo some medical procedure. It could be a routine procedure like a colonoscopy, or a non-routine procedure like having a cancerous tumor removed. Anytime a patient must undergo a medical procedure there are a number of pre-operative, perioperative, and post-discharge steps that must be followed. Often patients must alter their diets and physical activities prior to (and following) a procedure. Once admitted to the clinic or hospital on the day of the procedure, the patient follows a number of well-defined, sequential steps to prepare for what’s next. Understanding risks associated with a procedure, receiving medications and anesthesia administered by a care team, and undertaking the actual procedure are each a critical part of the whole patient perioperative experience. And no matter how many times a patient might have faced such an intervention before, the unfamiliar environment combined with the inherent complexities and gravitas of personal health leads to significant stress and anxiety.

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Topics: Communication, Anxiety, Stress, Patient Education

How VR Training Supports Safer  Aging

Posted by Todd Maddox on Mar 25, 2019 2:47:01 PM

Twenty-five percent of Americans are predicted to be 65 or older by 2030 (U.S. Census) and this demographic will outnumber those 18 and younger by 2035. Physical, emotional and cognitive changes associated with normal aging place an enormous emotional and financial burden on the senior, their family and the healthcare system. Studies show that as many as 13% of home care recipients experience an adverse event, may of which are preventable.

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Topics: Senior Care, Training, Uncertainty, Learning, Patient Education

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Now you will be.

At the end of the day, your healthcare journey begins and ends with you. Using virtual reality to improve education and training in healthcare has limitless potential to impact the lives of everyone you meet along the way.

Remember, evidence shows VR:

  • Improves satisfaction
  • Decreases anxiety
  • Improves learning
  • Improves retention
  • Increases actionable empathy
  • Outperforms classroom-based learning
  • Is the medium preferred by learners

The benefits of VR have never been more accessible.

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