Hospitals test Gear VR as non-addictive pain management tool

Samsung and AppliedVR are working with hospitals to test the Gear VR as a potential pain management tool that doesn't have the same addiction potential as opioid prescriptions. A trial has tested the Gear VR with both child and adult patients to test whether a library of 'relaxing landscapes' and games can help take one's mind off things like chronic pain and anxiety. Up to 120 hospitals are being sought to participate in the trial.

Of course, playing virtual reality games can't take away severe pain, however, it could help distract patients and calm them down before and after procedures, as well as help take their mind off discomfort, potentially resulting in less pain meds being administered throughout the day. Less pain med consumption would potentially reduce one's odds of being hooked on the pain medication.

According to Samsung's Dr. David Rhew, a trial that took place with AppliedVR and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center found that the use of VR reduced pain by 25-percent, and reduced anxiety/stress by 60-percent. In some cases, the pain reduction experience was enough to eliminate the need for narcotic meds.

Virtual reality's use in pediatrics is said to be of particular interest — it's not unusual to find video game consoles in pediatric units to entertain kids, and VR is basically an immersive, niche upgrade over those consoles. The VR headsets could find use in adult departments, too, particularly when it comes to the relaxing virtual landscapes.

SOURCE: MedCity News