ARTICLE BY CONTRIBUTOR
VRPhysio represents an advancement in physical therapy, gamifying the experience and providing precise data feedback on a patient's movements.
Many general articles have been written on how VR will impact the healthcare industry. The technology is being tested to improve training, surgery, and patient mood. That said, healthcare as an industry has a reputation of been insulated and behind other sectors in terms of innovation. VRHealth is one organization working to turn the theoretical into the practical. Headquartered in Tel Aviv, the company has recently expanded to Boston and debuted the first in its line of software for VR healthcare solutions. The product is VRPhysio, a VR experience designed to improve modern physical therapy.
VRPhysio offers two improvements to traditional physical therapy. For starters, VRHealth decided to gamify the therapeutic experience. Users are given tasks to accomplish and are rewarded upon completion. The gaming element is not deep but could serve as positive reinforcement and encourage the user to continue with the exercise. Whether the gameplay is shallow or not, it is an improvement over the lack of motivation that currently exists for patients to exercise in their homes.
VRPhysio's second improvement is the more tangible of the two. Often times, users perform their exercises incorrectly when a physical therapist is not present. Using positional tracking, VRPhysio monitors the client's movements and provides immediate feedback and needed corrections. It also provides helpful charts that inform the client and their therapist of the progress that is being made.
VRPhysio has already received an ISO certification and is an FDA authorized medical device. Nevertheless, VRHealth still faces challenges in implementing the first application of its software. Healthcare professionals are rarely proficiently trained in using technology and errors can arise from therapist/patient misuse. In addition, the hardware itself is limiting. While VRHealth wants to release on every major HMD - making its experience more affordable - mobile-based headsets lack the 6DoF necessary to properly use and track the software. Only the Rift and Vive versions are currently in use for this reason.
VRHealth is one of the companies bringing VR applications into the healthcare market. Its efforts showcase the potential of VR experiences across industry verticals, as well as its potential to improve the quality of life for the general population. VRPhysio represents only the first experience in VRHealth's software platform.