Reimagine Well Uses VR to Induce Immersive Healing Experiences
Matthew Hall MD, a pediatric radiation oncologist at Miami Cancer Institute, says MRIs can be a scar experiece for anyone. His patients can't be still even after they overcome their fear. This is so the radiation treatments or scans can be as quick and precise as possible.
This challenge inspired a collaboration between Reimagine Well and Miami Cancer Institute's clinical team in July 2021.
Reimagine Well offers a unique platform and programs. It has created a vast library of patient-directed, immersive healing experiences as well as disease-specific Learn Guides' hosted and managed by medical professionals. Leonard Sender, MD, is Director of the Chan Soon-Shiong Institute for Medicine. His research and clinical interests focus on immuno-oncology. Roger Holzberg, an ex-Award-winning Disney Imagineer and Creative Director at the National Cancer Institute, is the founder of My Bridge 4 Life. He is also a 15 year cancer survivor.
Radiation treatments and MRI exams can be frightening for adults. However, radiation treatments for children are often so terrifying that it is necessary to have them fully sedated. Researchers are beginning to find a link between pediatric sedation and long-term developmental issues for young patients. Leonard Sender, MD states that VR headsets are often used in hospitals to distract or entertain patients. This application allows the patient to become familiar with the sounds and sights of an MRI. The patient then lies down and the experiences begins. Patients can keep still to help them achieve their goal of bringing 3 different worlds together, from black & white to vivid colors. They also get immediate feedback.
The virtual reality headset detects movement accurately. As the patient maintains the crosshairs at the center of the circle, their score improves and the sounds from the MRI become natural environmental sounds. The game's three levels are designed to last as long the patient receives treatment.
Dr. Sender hopes clinicians will be able correlate the results of the game with the accuracy of the imaging and the length of the MRI sessions. It will be a predictive tool that Dr. Sender hopes will help reduce the time and maximize the use of their MRI Suites.
Roger Holzberg, cofounder of Reimagine Well, believes that Experiential Education" allows patients to experience treatments and process online at their own pace in a gamified manner, similar to the one where they will be treated. This reduces anxiety. Experiential education programs not only improve patient experience, but also reduce the need for rescheduling appointments and increase facility throughput.
Reimagine Well also offers programs that reduce anxiety during EEG exams and radiation treatments, as well as personalized distraction therapy.
Since 2017, Debbie Wagers, Child Life Specialist at Nebraska Medicine, has been working with Reimagine Well to develop this program. They have also initiated an IRB study. Prior proof of concept pilots showed that all children aged under 5 years received sedation for radiation therapy. The mean age of radiation treatment children who received sedation was now 2.6 years after the team's improved education process.
This program features a 3-D rendering the Nebraska Medicine pediatric radiation rooms. The Xbox controller allows patients to explore the room and interact with Casey, the hospital's mascot. Once they feel comfortable, the simulation starts. They can also try VR headsets if they want to experience more immersion. However, a headset is not necessary.