top of page

Revolutionary Practice? Exploring Provider Experiences of Virtual Reality

Updated: Apr 30

How often has a digital tool or piece of software benefited your practice? Most healthcare providers have horror stories about the new administration system or monitoring tool that adds a layer of bureaucracy to an already stretched schedule.


But sometimes technology can streamline a practice, and provide additional treatment opportunities. Among the cutting-edge tools gaining traction is Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy (VRET), a technique which has shown efficacy in treating anxiety disorders, specific phobias and more.


Recent research, such as the study conducted by Vincent et. al. published in PLOS One, sheds light on the profound impact and ease of use of VRET in clinical settings. Let’s take a look.



Background


A 2021 study from researchers at Thomas Jefferson University [1], Philadelphia, Pennsylvania noted that while virtual reality treatments have proven effective for a range of disorders — they noted improvement of chronic and acute pain during medical procedures alongside specific phobias and trauma — it remains limited in integration across common practice.


The more clinicians can try VRET in their practice, the more favorable they become to its uses. A second study explored here [2] found that the general attitude toward the use of VR in therapy was significantly more favorable post-intervention compared to pre-intervention, and usefulness and feasibility both scored higher after clinicians had tried VRET themselves.


So clinicians generally start out skeptical about virtual reality, but what about the experiences of those who have integrated VR into clinical practice? The study from Vincent et. al. set about to explore this provider perception.


Understanding the Findings

The study, titled Provider experiences of virtual reality in clinical treatment and published in PLOS One in 2021, consisted of a self-report survey of those using VR in an outpatient setting.


An overwhelming majority — 93.8% — believed that virtual reality had helped their patients progress in treatment, compared with other methods. These providers cited increased patient engagement (93.8%) and the ability to personalize treatment (87.5%) as the main benefits of VR.


The survey also asked about the ease of transitioning into VR, and found that a slight majority (58.8%) of providers did not find transitioning to VR difficult. Of those who did, the cost of doing so was the most commonly cited barrier.


At oVRcome, we’re working hard to make the gold-standard treatments for anxiety disorders and specific phobias more accessible. Our clinician portal allows for an affordable integration of virtual reality into your clinical practice, so you can offer innovative new treatments in-clinic or remotely. 


Benefits of VRET for Clinicians and Therapists


As noted by Vincent et. al. virtual reality treatments have proven effective for a range of disorders. Let’s take a look at the benefits to your clinical practice.


Enhanced Therapeutic Efficacy:


The immersive experience of VRET allows clinicians to tailor exposure exercises precisely to each patient's needs, gradually desensitizing them to fear triggers. By providing a realistic yet controlled setting, VRET facilitates more targeted and effective exposure therapy, leading to faster symptom relief and better treatment outcomes. Our own clinical trials found that using oVRcome for 6 weeks reduced reducing the severity of symptoms in people with specific phobias by 75% [3].


Ease of Implementation:


Unlike traditional exposure therapy, which may require extensive preparation and resources, VRET offers a streamlined and convenient alternative and clinicians can easily incorporate VRET into their practice without the need for specialized training or equipment. This ease of implementation not only saves time and resources but also expands the reach of exposure therapy to a broader patient population. You can expand your practice to reach new remote clients, and see faster results by prescribing VRET “homework” to your existing clients.


Customization and Personalization:


VRET allows clinicians to customize therapy sessions according to each patient's specific phobia and progress. By adjusting the intensity of exposure scenarios and adjusting the exposure hierarchy, clinicians can tailor the virtual experience to suit individual preferences and comfort levels. This personalized approach is one reason why 93.8% of respondents found VR improved patient engagement and compliance, and it can foster a collaborative therapeutic relationship.


Empowering Patients:


By offering a safe and controlled environment for confronting fears, VRET encourages patients to take an active role in their treatment journey. The immersive nature of virtual reality enables individuals to experience exposure exercises in a way that feels manageable and empowering, gradually building confidence and resilience. Because oVRcome can be used in familiar environments like a patient’s own home, it has been reported by users to feel safe, convenient, and empowering.


Conclusion: Embracing Innovation in Mental Health Care


While clinicians are right to be sceptical about integrating new technology, virtual reality is proven, effective and surprisingly accessible in 2024. Studies are showing that once providers experience this transformative approach to treatment their attitudes become more positive.


So could your clients, and your clinical practice, benefit from oVRcome’s revolutionary virtual reality exposure therapy programs? Explore how oVRcome can level up your practice today.


References


1 Vincent, C., Eberts, M., Naik, T., & Gulick, V. (2021). Provider experiences of virtual reality in clinical treatment. PLOS ONE, 16(10), e0259364. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0259364

2 Front. Psychol., 15 July 2021, Sec. Psychology for Clinical Settings, Volume 12 - 2021, https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.671871

3 Lacey C, Frampton C, Beaglehole B. oVRcome – Self-guided virtual reality for specific phobias: A randomized controlled trial. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2023;57(5):736-744. doi:10.1177/00048674221110779


12 views0 comments

コメント


bottom of page