Virtual Reality for Pain Management: Overview
ScienceSoft is a software development vendor with 31 years in IT, 24 years in 3D modeling, and 15 years in healthcare. We offer professional virtual reality development services.
The global healthcare VR market was estimated at $2.4 billion in 2019 and is predicted to reach $33.72 billion by 2027 at a CAGR of 41.2%. Pain management is one of the key applications of VR technology in the healthcare industry, taking up the 2nd place in owning the healthcare VR market share.
Use cases of VR for pain management
All pain management VR solutions are aimed at refocusing and diverting a patient’s attention, thus decreasing the level of pain they experience.
Chronic pain management
VR for patients with neuropathic pain. Helps to avoid long-term use of pharmacological pain relief, thus minimizing risks of side effects and reducing healthcare costs.
Acute pain management
VR for patients undergoing burn care or treatment of other serious injuries. Accelerates rehabilitation and improves patient satisfaction from their hospital stay.
Medical procedure pain control
VR for dental treatment, wide-awake surgeries, child birth, and other procedures that involve extreme distress. Eases the pain without anesthetics.
Mental pain and anxiety relief
VR to enhance the effectiveness of therapy sessions for patients with mental disorders. Speeds up recovery.
Pediatric pain management
VR for children undergoing medical care. Helps to avoid drug use.
Common features of virtual reality pain management solutions
that makes for maximum immersion.
for a higher level of engagement and distraction from the pain.
with relaxing music or recorded hypnotherapy guidance.
with the use of bright and colorful graphics and animation.
VR solution architecture
The key elements of the architecture are the web administration panel, the database web server, and the client VR application.
The databases store 3D models, interactive scenarios, and audio data. The web administration panel allows access to the database web server so as to update, replace, or add new items, as well as edit existing interactive VR scenarios anytime. The panel also enables control over the client VR app, which comprises:
- VR visualization module, responsible for building the 3D scene of the VR world. Its integral part is the physics simulator module (usually implemented with the help of NVIDIA Flex), which defines the physics of the VR environment.
- Audio data load module – loads audio data from the database and creates an audio layer for the VR visualization module data.
- Scenario simulation system – runs the uploaded scenario and enables interaction with the virtual reality.
A success story of VR for pain management
In cooperation with professional psychotherapists, ScienceSoft’s team of 3D designers and C++ engineers developed a VR mental pain relief solution for HTC Vive. The solution allows a patient to virtually travel to a sunny island with a soothing atmosphere. Therapists, who now combine the VR solution with Ericksonian hypnosis during their sessions, report that many patients suffering from anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorders showed higher levels of relaxation after being introduced to the VR anxiety relief solution.
Challenges of VR for pain management
This is the result of the delay between a real physical movement and the reaction in the virtual world. This delay can be controlled.
To significantly reduce the chances of motion sickness, the development team has to achieve the lowest recommended latency – 5-20ms. For that, it’s important to develop a VR solution with quality frame buffering settings and proactively calculate the processing power necessary for VR software’s high performance, so as to target the VR equipment with the corresponding power.
Costs of implementing a VR pain management solution
At ScienceSoft, we define the necessary budget for VR pain management software development after discussing such points as:
- Method of acquiring/creating key visuals (Photoshoot, Video shoot, 3D CAD rendering)
- Number of 3D models.
- Complexity of interactive scenarios.
Additional solution costs include the prices of:
- VR hardware: tethered (Oculus Rift S, Samsung Odyssey, etc.) or standalone/mobile (Oculus Go, Google Cardboard, etc.).
- Possible integrations with:
- Content Management System (CMS).
- Electronic Health Records (EHR).
Operational costs are related to:
- Cloud services (price depends on the provider’s plans, stored data volume and bandwidth).
VR for pain management: consulting and development by ScienceSoft
With 15 year-long experience in healthcare and 24 years in 3D modeling, ScienceSoft is a reliable partner for both consulting on and implementation of your virtual reality pain management software.
Consulting on VR for pain management
- Idea productization.
- Long-term road-mapping.
- Scalable architecture design.
- Integration planning.
- Technology stack selection.
Development of VR for pain management
- UX and UI design.
- VR development and quality assurance.
- 3D model design.
- Integration with hardware.
- Continuous support and evolution.
Founded in 1989 and headquartered in McKinney, TX, ScienceSoft is a global software development and IT consulting company. We develop diverse medical solutions and provide VR software development services to healthcare and other industries.