At Health Tech Insider, we typically post articles about individual projects, products, or research reports. We also generate all of our own content; we don’t publish submitted articles. So this article is a bit of a departure from our normal editorial scope. We are making an exception because the topic is  important and the source materials is well founded.

Most people think of gaming when they think of virtual reality (VR) googles, but this technology has found its way into a variety of therapeutic applications. We’ve written about a number of them before, but a recent article in Display Daily sheds some new light on the subject. An article titled “Mental Health and VR” summarizes a presentation by Matt Vogl, the Executive Director of the National Mental Health Innovation Center (NMHIC) at the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. Vogle is quoted as pointing out that “80% [of people with mental illness] receive limited or no care at all.” His organization is dedicated to expanding the use of technology to help treat patients with mental illness. And he singled out VR technology as a powerful new tool for therapists.

Already, the immersive environments offered by VR experiences are being used to treat patients in a variety of ways. Vogl cites examples in many different areas:

  • Fear management
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Hospice treatment
  • Addiction recovery
  • Pain management
  • Violence, suicide, and recidivism prevention in prison populations

The article also includes some illustrative videos.

If we are to improve treatment, expand healthcare coverage, and lower costs, we will need to rely on technology to make healthcare delivery more efficient. While VR may have been launched by entertainment applications, its greatest value may lie in its therapeutic benefits.