Neurosurgical Study Harnesses Power
of Virtual Reality
A study recently published in The Annals of Surgery investigates the effect of an immersive virtual reality (VR) in surgical patient care. Dr. George Kakoulides, a board-certified neurosurgeon at Long Island Neurosurgical & Pain Specialists (LINPS), was one of the lead investigators on the study which showed patients a virtual reality environment simulating their preoperative experience. Results found that patients undergoing cranial and spinal surgery reported less stress, were more prepared for the procedure, and were more satisfied with their care.
“Placing patients in the hospital space before surgery, and allowing them to experience transitions of care as well as interactions with healthcare providers could minimize anxiety and facilitate patient participation in their own care,” said Dr. Kakoulides.
To asses the efficacy of VR on improving patient outcomes, this randomized clinical trial compared self-reported results among patients exposed to preoperative VR immersion and those undergoing a standard preoperative experience. Patients in the VR group used VR goggles to view a 5-minute video, created by Dr. Kakoulides, describing the pre and postoperative experience for the day of the surgery.
This study is part of a larger movement in healthcare to improve quality indicators such as patient satisfaction which are now being tied to Medicare reimbursement for hospitals.