The functionalities of Virtual Reality (VR) are unlimited. It can be applied in so many instances, especially in the medical world. A procedure for which VR is particularly useful and beneficial is dialysis. This is a long procedure used as a treatment for people with kidney problems and it needs to be repeated quite frequently. To start the dialysis a thicker needle has to be attached to one's arm. This can be quite a scary and sometimes painful procedure for some. That's where VR comes in. 

VR helps create new and easier ways for the patient to go through dialysis. A patient could wear a VR headset before getting the injection and follow a relaxation exercise or watch a nature scene as a distraction for example. The focus will be shifted from the actual procedure to what they are experiencing in the VR environment. This will lessons the anxiety and distract them from the pain. 

However, VR applications can also take a step further when it comes to dialysis applications. VR can provide the patient with information about the procedure. It has been proven that VR can help with improving the storage and recall of medical information. It creates this heightened form of focus on what is being said as the patient fully emerges in it. Such patient education helps them get acquainted with what is about to happen, which again lessons the fear of the unknown. Such patient education also less the infection rates. SyncVR Medical applications that discuss just this are called 'Dialysis Orientation' and 'Weltenmacher Orientation' and they can be found in the app store. 

Lastly it is also great for the medical personnel to learn how to administer dialysis to patients. It gives them the opportunity to safely practice the procedure without harming any patients. Mistakes can be corrected and perfected until a trainee is set to do the real work. SyncVR Medical has even created an application called 'HD Self Injection' that teaches patients how to do the dialysis injection themselves. This can be extremely helpful for hemodialysis procedures done at home. All this goes to show that the options are very extensive and very useful.

01 / Jun / 2021

SyncVR has been focusing on internationalization more and more these past couple of months. Not only have we expanded to other countries than just the Netherlands, but we also implemented new languages and drafted an even more international team. We believe that everybody should have access to the revolutionary and innovative experience that is medical VR. Our team is now being strengthened by people from all over Scandinavia, the USA, Germany, and Ireland. They further acknowledged that internationalization is key for SyncVR. Therefore, we have started implementing more and more languages in the VR applications in the App store. 

A country is never defined by just one language, which is why multiple options should be available. Everybody deserves to be able to experience medical VR in a language that they are most comfortable with. Optimal distraction or relaxation will only be reached if a person actually has the possibility to follow the voice-over during the immersive VR experience. Research has also shown that language barriers can have some serious impact on the patient's wellbeing. Not only could it result in a poorer assessment of symptoms, but it may ultimately result in lesser diagnosis and improper care. That's where SyncVR comes in. We bridge this gap by making healthcare accessible with the addition of new languages, as that will optimize relaxation and distraction during medical procedures. By bridging these possible language barriers, the patient will experience SyncVR in its full capacity. All the patients' needs should be met, and that includes incorporating different languages.

For these reasons, we have been working hard on implementing multiple languages. We are proud to announce that all the relax and distract applications can now be enjoyed in Dutch, German, Danish, English, French, Arabic, Turkish, and Russian. These languages have been chosen as they are widely spoken within the population of the countries we currently work with. We aim to branch out even further and thus incorporate even more languages. Internationalization and inclusion are of high importance and we will continue to stress this in the future.

07 / May / 2021

Virtual Reality is becoming a great tool for exposure therapy. Recent studies experiemented with different samples of patients with eating disorders and population without eating disorders to which they are exposed to virtual reality environments and stimuli. The end results showed that people who were in the exposure therapy and used VR had more control over their anxiety levels and hence showed more positive and effective results altogether. The studies also showed that using VR helped in prevention of binge eating behavior in patients with bulimia and binge eating disorder.

Created by Psious, there are several VR simulations patients can enter to confront their issues with body image. One of which is the 'dressing room' simulation, in which the patient sees a virtual avatar of themself in undergarments. The patient then uses a set of controls to alter the body appearance of the avatar to establish their self-perceived body image. The therapist is then able to insert a virtual image based on the patient's body measurements to portray the discrepancy between the patient's perception of their own body, and their actual dimensions.

Another simulation offered takes place in a restaurant setting, where the patient simulates ordering and eating a meal. The scenario is customizable, with menu options including low-fat, 'standard', and high-fat meals, as well as diuretic options that are often overconsumed by those with eating disorders. Patients simulate consumption of their meal and can even choose types of conversation to have with a virtual acquaintance (none, neutral or uncomfortable). The goal of this simulation, pictured below, is to guide the patient through a controlled and customized scenario to help them tackle their anxiety.

28 / Apr / 2021

Cancer patients often live with comorbidities including chronic pain, depression, or other associated chronic conditions. The management of chronic pain remains a challenging and complex process involving pharmacologic, physical, occupational, and psychological factors. Typically, pharmaceutical interventions such as acetaminophen and NSAIDs, as well as opioids, are used to enhance comfort in cancer-related chronic pain. But this increases the chances of drug addiction and risks exposure to the side-effects associated with using opioids.

Virtual Reality has recently emerged as a novel way for pain management. The purpose of VR technology is to provide users with sense of presence within a simulated environment — they feel like they are there. Cognitive distraction is a common strategy for controlling pain and relies on competing cognitive resources, ie attention, to reduce the perception of pain. Immersive VR interventions are being used as powerful distractors that require visual, audio, cognitive, and emotional engagement from the user.

Another approach valued by some patients is mindfulness meditation for chronic pain management. Mindfulness meditation is a psychological technique that requires intentional and non-judgmental awareness of pain and conscious relaxation to support its acceptance and help reduce its impact. Combining mindfulness meditation within a VR intervention may help support acceptance and adherence to the practice while having a positive effect on pain reduction through immersive VR distraction.

In that context, we at SyncVR have designed the SyncVR-Relax & Distract - an application where patients and healthcare staff can experience a wide variety of VR scenarios to reduce pain, anxiety and stress. The VR library contains relaxation exercises, cognitive stimulating games and videos. It is easy to implement and the application comes with a tablet on which you can spectate what a patient is seeing in the VR headset.

26 / Apr / 2021

Alleviating patients' suffering and pain remains an important challenge in medicine. Different non-pharmacological techniques are currently being used as complementary tools in the treatment of acute and chronic pain, including cognitive-behavioral therapies, biofeedback, acceptance-based approaches, hypnosis, and virtual reality (VR). A new technique that combines hypnosis and VR, called “virtual reality hypnosis” (VRH), is increasingly being used where resources are limited, or there are considerable distractions to patients with an already compromised cognitive capacity.

VR technology offers new opportunities for clinical research and intervention by creating a human testing and training multi-sensory 3D dynamic environment . VR can be interesting in addition to pharmacotherapy and analgesia in anxiety and pain reduction, as an adjunct therapy for the management of acute pain in adults and children and allows patients to alter the patient's attention, emotions, and concentration.

Together with HypnoVR we are exploring this new and promising area for pain management. HypnoVR specializes in developing virtual reality-based medical hypnosis solutions to manage pain and stress. It designs, develops and markets software applications and medical devices as innovative tools of hypnosedation to improve the quality of care and comfort of patients. HypnoVR solutions fit perfectly into multimodal accelerated rehabilitation procedures and help improve care.

en_GBEnglish (UK)