Enhancing Patient Experience and Reducing Anxiety Using Virtual and Augmented Reality Platforms
David Byun, MD, in collaboration with Kevin Du, MD, and Gregory Dorsainville, MPS, at NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center, is exploring whether the application of virtual and augmented reality platforms during consultation visits could better increase patient knowledge about radiation therapy, reduce anxiety, and improve the quality of their overall treatment experience. The beginning of treatment is a stressful time for patients recently diagnosed with cancer. Efforts to understand how to help alleviate this stress show that patients want better communication about treatment logistics, potential side-effects and predicted outcomes, and they would prefer to receive the information using tools they can see, touch, or interact with.
Dr. Byun and his team are developing the CurieUx (Curie User eXperience) mixed reality patient education software to improve communication with patients preparing for radiation therapy, and help reduce their stress and anxiety. The CurieUx platform will include a novel virtual reality (VR) 360° tour of simulation and treatment rooms for patients to explore using commercially available VR headsets. The second component of the platform will use augmented reality (AR) to enhance physicians’ verbal explanations of diagnosis and treatment by allowing patients to see interactive 3-D models of disease-specific anatomy and the linear accelerator used in radiation therapy.
With support from the ROI, Dr. Byun and his team are:
- Developing the VR and AR elements of the CurieUx software platform.
- Assessing the feasibility of incorporating the VR 360° tour of simulation and treatment rooms into consultation for radiation therapy.
- Conducting a prospective study to determine if patient anxiety levels are reduced and treatment-related knowledge improved when AR headsets are used during consultation visits.
Dr. Byun and his team aim to establish the benefits of using immersive multimedia during consultation for radiation therapy to improve communication and decrease anxiety for patients. If the results are promising, Dr. Byun’s team plans to optimize the CurieUx software platform to make it more readily accessible to physicians and patients.