Tufts to bring virtual reality to patient care

'There’s nothing that will ever substitute for the face-to-face, clinician-patient interaction,' but 'an educated consumer is the best consumer'
By Jessica Davis
03:08 PM
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Tufts Medical Center

Tufts Medical Center has announced a plan to bring virtual reality to patient care, giving prospective patients a detailed view of the pre-procedural process, complete with a 360-degree view of the medical facility and staff.

The idea is to calm patients' fears before surgical procedures, allowing them to "meet" the surgeon and get a look at the OR and surroundings before the scheduled appointment.

[See also: Patient engagement: 'Behavior dominates technology']

A team of Tufts' physician assistants have paired with Primacy, a Boston marketing firm, to put the plan into motion," Boston magazine reports. The partnership will be designed to increase patient education, but the project is still in its planning stages.

"It's a work in progress, but the technology is truly astounding," Carey Kimmelstiel, director of the Interventional Cardiology Center at Tufts, told the magazine.

"When you're using it, you're not limited to a screenshot – you can really get a feel for the space," he added. "We'll be able to tell hesitant patients, 'Go home at your leisure, take a look at this, and think about questions you might not have thought to ask earlier.'"

[See also: What can Oculus Rift do for healthcare?]

Through the technology, doctors hope to show patients pre-procedural consent, introduce relevant personnel and explain medical equipment: "The idea is to make sure patients are familiar with what they're about to undergo," he said. "It doesn't have to be a scary process."

Read more at Boston magazine.