Imagine a scenario where you have a phobia for something (example fear of flying), and this could be solved by just sitting in a controlled environment, watching a movie or playing a game. Don’t you think that would be awesome? Although it’s not as simple as it sounds, virtual reality technology can help people get past their fears, and improve their way of living.
Virtual reality exposure therapy allows people to work through their fears in a realistic environment without actually leaving the safety of their comfort zone. The therapy exposes the patient to the source of their anxiety or phobia in an environment that is guaranteed not to harm the patient.
Patients experience what they fear in a controlled way and in small doses. By taking small steps, they can confront and gradually conquer their phobia.
Let’s paint another scenario of a phobia for the fear of heights. Now, a patient can walk into his room, put on his virtual reality gear and experience a simulation of the view of a balcony of a skyscraper. The patient can look around to see all aspects of the outdoor environment. The patient not only sees the balcony , they also hear the same sounds they would experience if they were really on the balcony, such as the wind blowing or the sound of a bird flying. Even if a person knows the virtual reality program isn’t completely realistic, there is enough realism in it to trigger their emotional responses to their phobia.
At eHealth4Everyone we have created an internal prototype 3D Virtual Reality mobile application. This provides incremental exposure to users who experience any phobia and want to treat it, without leaving their homes. The solution was targeted at the following people:
- Individuals with phobia of height (Acrophobia)
- Individuals with phobia of reptile (Herpetophobia)
- Individuals with phobia of Water (Hydrophobia)
- Individuals with phobia of crowds (Agoraphobia)
- Individuals with phobia of confined space (Claustrophobia)
Storyboard of app prototype
The app was designed to fit the following specifications:
- Device compatibility with both iOS and Android Os
- Contains a collection of 360 videos and simulations that users can interact with.
- Interactive scenes For great user experience and easy navigation between scenes.
- Reassuring Commentary guiding users of their objective and their ability to complete it.
- Multiple Levels: App has 3 levels with 3 sets of simulations that conveys a feel of the user being at different levels of the phobias. The 3 game levels: Easy, Medium, Hard with each level having three scenarios.
- Mobile compatibility: User interface is clean and compatible with mobile screens
- VR Headset compatibility: UI is controlled through all VR headsets (Including Google cardboard)
- Progress Tracking: Game saves user progress for them to continue where they stopped
We are envisioning and implementing digitalization in healthcare to provide effective exposure therapy for patients in situations where in vivo exposure is too dangerous or otherwise inaccessible. You can reach out to us to learn more or plan for VR strategy in healthcare processes.