November 30, 2023

The company has registered all of its programs with the FDA, said Eran Orr, founder and chief executive officer.

Not all programs offered for VR rehab are games. In some clinics, a patient can virtually practice the practical skills they may have problems with, such as grocery shopping or washing dishes.

To really advance the use of virtual reality in physical therapy and occupational therapy, we need to “produce a set of evidence that shows it is effective, how we can pay for it, and how we can develop it in an easy-to-use way”. said Matthew Stoudt, CEO and founder of Applied VR, which delivers therapeutic virtual reality. “We have to be able to demonstrate that we can reduce the costs of care and not just expand the cost paradigm.”

While research specifically on the use of VR in physical therapy and occupational therapy is still in its infancy, an analysis of 27 studies conducted by Matt C. Howard, an assistant professor of marketing and quantitative methods at the University of South Alabama, found that this is the case with VR therapy is generally more effective than conventional programs.

“Does that mean VR is better for everything? Of course not, ”he said in an interview. “And there’s a lot we don’t know about VR rehab.”

Much of the research uses small samples of varying degrees of rigor, and there is more need to study how a patient’s activity in the virtual world translates into improved performance in the physical world, said Danielle Levac, an assistant professor in the division of Physiotherapy, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences from Northeastern University. Professor Levac explores the reasons for using virtual reality systems in pediatric rehabilitation. Many of the children she works with have cerebral palsy.

“We have to consider the downside of not having face-to-face contact with therapists,” she said. “I see VR as a tool with a lot of potential, but we should keep in mind that it fits into an overall care program and doesn’t replace it.”