Science & tech

The game-changing potential of digital therapeutics

No longer just a gaming technology, virtual reality is starting to make inroads in healthcare settings. Abi Millar speaks to author Dr Brennan Spiegel about how virtual therapeutics may help people manage their conditions more effectively than traditional drug-based approaches. 

Digital healthcare is booming. According to a study by Juniper Research, the number of people using digital therapeutics and wellness apps will surge from 627 million in 2020 to more than 1.4 billion in 2025. One important piece of the puzzle is virtual reality, which is already being used across everything from pain management to stroke rehabilitation.

Dr Brennan Spiegel, a gastroenterologist and director of Cedars-Sinai’s Health Services Research, helps oversee the largest medical virtual reality programme in the world. He has also written a book, VRx: How virtual therapeutics will revolutionize medicine, which explains the role virtual reality (VR) is starting to play in healthcare settings.

Below, he explains why VR-based therapies are here to stay and why the pandemic has catalysed a trend that was already well underway.

Read the rest of this article in the March 2021 edition of Medical Technology

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