Introduction: Virtual reality (VR) can be an effective healthcare tool, particularly applied to anxiety and pain management. Despite significant interest in VR, lack of resources and knowledge regarding feasibility are barriers to implementation. This study aims to understand the current clinical usage of VR and the achievability of VR as a standardized therapy, by assessing VR healthcare providers.
Methods: An online, self-administered questionnaire with five sections—respondent demographics, VR value, onboarding, billing, and clinical use—was distributed. Providers, identified on VR application websites, were contacted via email. Inclusion criteria was providers in the United States using VR actively or in the past year as a therapeutic tool. Twenty-two responses were received, and four excluded due to incomplete data.
Results: Providers most commonly reported using VR for acute pain/anxiety (N=11, 61.1%), followed by specific and social phobia (N=6, 33.3% each). Providers expressed greatest interest in extending VR use to chronic and acute pain patients. All providers agreed VR is a valuable tool they would recommend to colleagues. The majority (N=15, 93.8%) believed VR helped their patients progress in treatment, compared with other methods. Providers cited the ability to individualize treatment (N=14, 87.5%) and increase patient engagement (N=15, 93.8%) as main benefits of VR. A minority reported negative feedback from patients (N=4, 25.0% content-related; N=6, 37.5% technology-related), whereas all reported some form of positive feedback.
Discussion: VR is a treatment adjunct that is well-received by patients and providers, allowing increased patient engagement and treatment individualization.
Vincent, Christine; Eberts, Margaret; Naik, Tejal U.; and O'Hayer, C. Virginia, "Provider Perceptions of Virtual Reality as a Therapeutic Tool" (2021). Phase 1. Paper 7.