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Digital Health Report

XR in Healthcare

Immersive Therapy, Education and More

This report provides a comprehensive outlook and analysis of extended reality technologies -- including Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) -- and how they are used to improve the healthcare industry. It explores different scenarios, solutions and new approaches that could have a big impact in healthcare.
Major Challenges Addressed 100 Companies Covered Popular Technologies Discussed
200+ Pages, PDF Download Optimized for Smartphones One-Year of Updates Included

The Big Picture

You have probably heard that the digital health market is booming. In the U.S. alone, companies raised $7.4 billion in 2019, according to Rock Health. The same source has found that $3.1 billion was invested in the first quarter of 2020 - before the COVID-19 pandemic.

And it's not just an American thing only. Another source, StartUp Health, claims that a total of $13.7 billion was invested in digital health companies across the world in 2019. They have also summed up all the investments since 2010 - and have found that, so far, a whopping $70 billion was invested in this sector!

Add the coronavirus pandemic to the mix and you get a market that is steaming hot with companies both big and small fighting for their piece of the ever-growing pie.

digital health

Our goal is to provide you with useful information so that you too could participate and compete. Whether you want to start brand new or grow an exiting digital health business, we think we could help. That's where our reports kick in. Read on for details...

Report Introduction

Blockchain in Healthcare

Extended reality (XR) is one of the key technologies shaping up the future of healthcare. The utilization of XR in the industry is already showing signs that it can diminish costs, increase access, and improve outcomes for individuals around the globe.

The intermingling of academic research patterns, moves by major corporations as well as several startups, and mainstream acknowledgment of the innovations exhibit that a future where healthcare is formed by XR is inescapable. However, regardless of whether your company will profit by these progressions is far from being unavoidable.

Most notably, XR will drive a realignment of the current convictions about where healthcare happens, who gives the care, and who profits from it. As healthcare reaches out of the hospital and the doctor's office and into individuals' homes, the outskirts of businesses will be broken down as entertainment, wellness, med-tech, social media, and hardware organizations all vying for a piece of the healthcare pie.

On the other hand, XR will also serve as an important learning tool, replacing plastic bodies and other equipment students use to learn human anatomy and even how to perform certain surgeries.

Patients too will get to benefit from the technology, with -- for instance -- doctors, pharma and other companies providing them with immersive content about their conditions.

Furthermore, other use cases in the healthcare space have also popped up in recent years, and we are just getting started.

In this report, we'll explore how XR technologies are reshaping -- or at very least improving -- the healthcare industry as we know it. Let us start with basics, shall we?

  • About this research brief
  • Introduction
  • XR Basics
  • Defining VR, AR, MR and XR
  • Three types of VR headsets
  • Different types of AR devices
  • Haptic technology
  • Platforms
  • Mobile AR SDKs and APIs
  • Gaming Engines
  • Google Cardboard & Daydream
  • Windows Mixed Reality
  • Oculus platform
  • HTC VIVE Wave
  • OpenXR
  • Device Makers
  • Oculus
  • HTC
  • Valve
  • Google
  • Microsoft
  • Qualcomm
  • Vuzix
  • Samsung
  • Varjo
  • RealWear
  • Magic Leap
  • Pico Interactive
  • ThirdEye
  • Other devices
  • Major Solution Providers
  • XRHealth
  • Oxford VR
  • AppliedVR
  • Osso VR
  • The Body VR
  • FundamentalVR
  • Patient Education
  • Explaining the impact of genes on various aspects of life with VR
  • Salix Pharmaceuticals developed a 360-degree VR experience to evolve medical understanding about IBS
  • Australia’s St John Ambulance develops VR-enabled first aid training app
  • Hull Women and Children’s Hospital Launches a VR Project to Improve Understanding of Childbirth Experiences for Parents-To-Be
  • George Washington University uses VR to take you inside a coronavirus-damaged lungs
  • Rice U. Bioengineering Students Develop an AR App To Aid Patients with Parkinson’s
  • Select companies
  • Surgical Training
  • JJI Introduced VR Training for Orthopedic Surgeons and Nurses
  • GIBLIB, Cedars-Sinai launch CME-accredited VR course for GI surgeons
  • FundamentalVR, HaptX partner to improve virtual simulation for surgeon trainees
  • Mixed Reality Simulator brings innovation to laparoscopic skills training
  • AR system lets doctors see patients’ internal anatomy displayed right on the body
  • HoloAnatomy allows students to explore the wonders of human anatomy with MR
  • NuVasive’s RELINE Trauma portfolio comes with a VR training solution
  • Select companies
  • Surgeries
  • Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to take holograms into the operating theatre
  • UTHealth/Memorial Hermann conducted the first AR-assisted sinus surgery in the US
  • Philips and Microsoft demonstrated a HoloLens-based concept for image-guided minimally invasive therapies
  • Surgeons from the Imperial College London used HoloLens to “See Inside” Patients Before Operating on Them
  • Memorial Hermann and UTHealth Conduct First AR-Based Sinus Surgery in U.S.
  • Select companies
  • Mental Health
  • Stress relief with VR
  • The Dolphin Swim Club uses VR to help people destress and relax
  • StoryUp Studios’ Healium uses AR, VR and wearables to reduce anxiety
  • Healing HealthCare Systems brings VR relaxation content to 1,000+ hospitals in the U.S.
  • Facing your fears with VR
  • Select companies
  • Pain Management
  • Sensors and AR let researchers see patients’ pain in real-time
  • French emergency room testing VR for pain relief
  • Travelers, Cedars-Sinai, Samsung, Bayer and appliedVR testing VR in treatment of acute orthopedic injuries
  • Using VR hypnosis to manage pain and stress
  • Select companies
  • Pediatrics
  • Extended reality and pediatric care use cases
  • Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford pioneers use of VR for patient care, education and experience
  • Denmark’s Rigshospitalet Testing a VR game for children who are afraid of needles
  • Boston Children’s Hospital testing a VR tool for pediatric patients
  • MySpira is the AR asthma training app for children
  • Stroke Recovery
  • Kessler Foundation partners with Virtualware Group to develop innovative stroke treatment
  • Magic Moovr is made to help recovering stroke patients
  • Qualcomm teaming-up with VR companies to improve stroke education
  • Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation
  • Hanger launched a VR-enabled 360-degree video to evolve patient experience in the prosthetics industry
  • Accenture builds VR game with SAP Leonardo to provide more therapy options for people with amputations
  • Select companies
  • Senior Care
  • VR in senior care
  • PeerWell launches an AR-based trip and fall hazard detector mobile app
  • MyndVR, Pico Interactive and Littlstar Donating VR to seniors to combat social isolation
  • Other training
  • Training midwives
  • Helping healthcare workers in war zones, natural disasters and rural areas
  • Helping medical technicians learn to clean endoscopes
  • Training pharma sales reps
  • Other Use Cases
  • Telehealth
  • Fitness
  • Concussion assessment
  • Visual aid
  • Smoking cessation
  • Treating people with neurological disorders
  • Lazy eye therapy
  • Helping dementia research
  • Fighting COVID-19
  • More companies
  • Conclusion
  • List of Companies
  • 1Minuut Innovation
  • Aira
  • Altoida
  • AppAttic
  • AppliedVR
  • BeBop Sensors
  • BehaVR
  • Beyeonics Surgical
  • BioflightVR
  • BioLucid
  • BitGym
  • Black Box VR
  • Blue Goji
  • Cleanbox Technology
  • CognifiSense
  • CogniHab
  • Cognitive Leap
  • Crescent Tech
  • Cybershoes
  • EchoPixel
  • Embodied Labs
  • Envision
  • eSight
  • Esqapes Immersive Relaxation
  • Eyedaptic
  • Firsthand Technology
  • Fisher Wallace Laboratories
  • FitTrip
  • FitXR
  • Foretell Reality
  • ForwardXP
  • FundamentalVR
  • GiveVision
  • Google
  • Happinss
  • HaptX
  • Health Scholars
  • Holodia
  • HypnoVR
  • Immersal
  • Immersive Health Group
  • ImmersiveTouch
  • Index AR Solutions
  • Karuna Labs
  • KineQuantum
  • Level Ex
  • Limbix
  • Luminopia
  • Lynx
  • Magic Leap
  • MedApp
  • Medical Augmented Intelligence
  • Medical Realities
  • MediView
  • Medivis
  • Microsoft
  • Mimerse
  • MindCotine
  • MindMaze
  • MyndVR
  • NuVasive
  • Oculus
  • Oncomfort
  • One Caring Team
  • Osgenic
  • Osso VR
  • Oxford Medical Simulation
  • Oxford VR
  • Patient Connect
  • Pear Therapeutics
  • PeerWell
  • Peloton
  • Pico Interactive
  • Pixee Medical
  • Precision OS
  • Proprio Vision
  • Proximie
  • Psious
  • Qualcomm
  • RealWear
  • Rendever
  • Rewellio
  • Saebo
  • Samsung
  • SentiAR
  • SimforHealth
  • SpellBound
  • StoryUp Studios
  • SyncThink
  • Telesoftas
  • Teslasuit
  • The Body VR
  • ThirdEye
  • Tobii
  • Ultraleap
  • Varjo
  • Vicarious Surgical
  • VirtaMed
  • Virti
  • Virtual Human Interaction Lab
  • Virtualware
  • VirZOOM
  • Viscira
  • Visual
  • Vivid Vision
  • Vuzix
  • XRHealth
  • Zwift
  • ΑΓΩ Simulations
  • Total number of companies mentioned in the report: 116

Top 10 XR Use Cases in Healthcare

There are quite a few use cases for extended reality technologies in healthcare, and we dare to think we've covered them all in our report. Here's a very short excerpt of what we think are top use cases:

1. Patient education
Thanks to the Internet, today's patients are more informed than ever. They want to learn about their health and, if/when possible, even participate in some key decisions that could be made on their behalf. And that's where extended reality technologies could kick in, offering immersive lessons that could be easier to grasp than written text. After all, if a picture is worth a thousand words -- an extended reality experience could easily be worth a million.

2. Surgical training
Despite the massive advancements in science and medical technology, the way surgeons are trained has remained largely unchanged for the past 150 years. Typically, this consists of classroom-based theory, theatre-style viewing of cadaver-based teaching, observation in the operating room, hands-on cadaver practice, closely monitored live patient involvement and increasingly YouTube. An XR-based solution augments the apprenticeship training model by allowing multiple surgeons to train together in one VR space independent of their physical location. Collaborative training affords improved learning and assessment opportunities for surgeons and the surgical team, while giving medical device companies a more scalable way to offer workshops and training sessions.

3. Mental health
Mental disorders are said to be among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide, and extended reality technologies -- namely VR -- can help as an additional treatment. Several studies have already shown that VR can ease certain phobias, treat PTSD, help people with psychotic disorders experience less paranoia and anxiety in public settings, and reduce social anxiety. In addition, VR-enabled experiences bring mindfulness exercises to a whole new level.

4. Pain management
It is only natural that with its "takeover" of the user's field of view, virtual reality could serve as a useful, drug-free distraction from chronic pain. That fact has prompted many studies into the effectiveness of technology in treating pain or at least making it manageable. The technology works both with adult patients and with children, who could be provided with an immersive way to "handle" often unpleasant tests and procedures.

5. Stroke recovery
After a stroke, patients are suggested to train their upper and lower limbs to help the brain "re-program" itself and form new neural connections. These new connections stimulate the recovery of motor skills in patients following stroke. So VR may be useful to augment rehabilitation of the upper and lower limbs in patients suffering from stroke and other neurological injuries. In some studies, therapists have manipulated the image onscreen to make the patient's limb appear to be moving faster and more accurately than it was in real life. Doing this increased the patient's confidence and made them more likely to use their affected limb spontaneously, which in turn helped them recover more completely.

6. Telehealth
XR technologies bring telehealth to a whole new level, with one company -- XRHealth -- now boasting more than 500 certified healthcare professionals in its network. The company's offering covers a range of treatments -- including physical therapy, mental health, menopause, cognitive therapy, respiratory recovery and pain management. And XRHealth is not the only game in town.

7. Fitness
Instead of running around with an activity tracker or smartwatch on your wrist, virtual reality can help users accomplish the same thing (calorie-wise) without leaving their living room. A few companies in this space offer connected solutions that provide for a more engaging experience to the users. Zwift is one of them, which stationary bike massive multiplayer online (MMO) game allows users to compete with other riders from all around the world. Also, there are Blue Goji and BitGym, both of which will work with treadmills, elliptical machines, and stationary bikes.

8. Concussion assessment
Virtual reality combined with eye-tracking has the potential for lifesaving applications in concussion assessment. That's what the company called SyncThink is all about, providing medical professionals with objective metrics to evaluate brain function. Based on 15 years of research and holding over 10 patents, the company's first product, EYE-SYNC, is a 60-second, objective assessment that uses eye-tracking to assess ocular-motor impairments and recently added ocular-vestibular dysfunction -- the two most common and serious impairments in concussion. FDA-cleared for detecting eye-tracking impairment, EYE-SYNC is used by the U.S. army as well as leading university athletic departments and medical clinics, such as Stanford University to Massachusetts General Hospital.

9. Visual aid
Though people can learn to navigate cautiously through sound and touch, many places assume that their visitors can quickly see layouts and features, and offer no substitute to printed signs and other purely visual navigational necessities. Modern smart glasses could help with built-in cameras and always-on capabilities working together to pull information from the Internet to tell users about their surroundings. In the process, the software recognizes objects and people around the user letting him/her know what's going on.

10. Treating people with neurological disorders
Playing games in VR could be a tool in treating people with neurological disorders such as autism, schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease. The technology, according to a study from the University of Waterloo, could help individuals with these neurological conditions shift their perceptions of time, which their conditions lead them to perceive differently. The researchers discovered that the VR manipulation was associated with significant reductions in the participants' estimates of time, by around 15 percent.


And this is just the tip of the iceberg. We go into much more details in the report.

All It Takes Is a Single Idea...

You can hardly remove yourself from the digital health revolution. Whether you're a health professional, software developer, advocate or a government employee -- this emerging trend is hard to miss. Heck, at some point, all of us will experience (and benefit from) digitized healthcare as patients.

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Is This The Report For You?

DHbriefs reports are made for today's busy people; let us mention the three big groups:

You probably already know Big Pharma is investing millions in digital health technologies. After all, it is easier and more affordable to launch a digital therapeutic than develop a brand new drug with all the lab work and trials, let alone regulatory requirements, that come included with a brand new drug launch.

Digital health apps and services provide insurance companies and other payors with tools they could offer to their customers so they could lead healthier lives. As a result, payors get to save money and offer better, more personalized services -- i.e. the more you walk every day, the lower premium you end up paying. Ultimately, such incentives also lead to better outcomes.

Software developers
With the growth of digital health, we saw many non-traditional players entering the space -- software developers being one of them. They see there's money to be made by helping doctors and hospitals digitize their businesses while providing patients with that much better services. In that sense, our reports help software developers find their niches in the market and even potential partners.

And that's not all...


We are also confident that our reports will help other parties, including (but not limited to):

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