This guide was created to:
(i) answer those fundamental questions we feel are essential in your understanding of virtual reality’s growing role within healthcare;
(ii) provide you with helpful resources that expand your knowledge of this emerging technology and its proven capacities to affect meaningful outcomes; and, perhaps most importantly
(iii) show you how and why IKONA was built -- to make this powerful tool easily accessible to the countless providers and patients in your facility and across the globe.
D. Learn more
Why virtual reality?
By far the most common question we’ve received, from people of every professional background and discipline imaginable , is “why use virtual reality (VR)?” What evidence is there that VR content benefits patients more than traditional “flat” content that can be viewed on an iPad or computer screen?
Well, to put it plainly, the science is clear: from learning and retention to attention and empathy, evidence continues to grow supporting the notion that virtual reality as a medium is capable of producing extraordinary experiences on demand, and with measurable effects on its users.
Here, we’ll let the data do the talking:
VR leads to better initial learning;
VR leads to reduced stress and higher satisfaction;
VR reduces the rate of forgetting;
VR boosts retention versus traditional classroom education;
VR long-term memory retention 4x better than traditional learning;
VR empathy 2x higher than traditional training;
20% better learning
4x better retention
2x actionable empathy
The research and brain science are clear: the immersive, context-rich nature of VR broadly engages multiple learning and memory systems in the brain in synchrony, and results in multiple, interconnected memory traces that are less susceptible to forgetting.
So if you are looking to improve patient outcomes and staff training, you need to get your hands on a VR headset with high-quality content.
B. VR for children and seniors (and anyone under stress!)
The second most common question we hear goes something like this: “VR is clearly an effective training tool, but does it work when people are under stress, and what benefits can it have for younger and older patients?”
VR is particularly effective for seniors and children, or for anyone under stress;
To address this question let’s first talk about the part of the brain that we utilize when we’re reading the printed instructions that most providers currently offer patients: the prefrontal cortex. This is the “thinking” part of the brain and it is truly amazing; however, it does have some shortcomings.
First, it does not work very well when a person (of any age) is under stress.
Second, it does not fully develop until we are in our mid-20s, and it works less effectively with normal aging. This means that anyone under stress and both children and older adults are at a disadvantage when it comes to learning from traditional sources.
So how do we address it? Well, with virtual reality of course!
VR is a “total brain solution”: it doesn’t just target the prefrontal cortex, but also recruits emotional learning, visual learning and sensory representation areas such as the amygdala, occipital lobes, temporal lobes and more. This powerhouse combination creates a more immersive learning experience that leads to a sense of presence.
This sense of presence reduces the negative effects of stress and engages brain areas that are quick to develop in children, and slow to decay in older adults.
C. VR and effective communication
One of the best applications of VR is for enhancing communication. With VR you can "walk a mile in someone else's shoes" which builds empathy and understanding. VR also allows groups of individuals to have a shared experience that facilitates communication of difficult topics.
Read more about VR and effective communication in healthcare.
D. Where to learn more
If you’d like to learn more about the psychology and brain science behind immersive learning, please reach out to us and we’ll set up a conversation with our scientific advisers to answer any remaining questions you might have.
Endless applications for immersive technologies in healthcare;
Now that you understand the why, it’s equally important to know how VR will be implemented into your existing workflows. While every workflow is unique, we’ve identified four unassailable truths that have eased adoption:
VR does not replace the caregiver; rather, it enhances the relationship between patients and their caregivers;
VR must be simple to use and offer a safe learning environment for its users, since many users will be using VR for the first time;
VR solutions must easily scale to meet your needs;
VR must be at least cheaper or more effective than existing solutions in order to be adopted.
If you are looking to develop, manage, and implement your own solutions in a clinical setting, we also recommend reading this article from CDW HealthTech to help you get started: “4 Tips for Designing a Patient-Centric Virtual Reality Program”
B. Who are your customers? Where do we fit in?
Type: Currently, we serve customers including senior living communities, home care agencies, post acute networks and chronic care organizations.
Size: Our customers come in all sizes, from 30-community assisted living operators and regional hospital networks to distributors, contract research organizations and Fortune 200 healthcare services providers.
Note: We recently launched a subscription service for smaller teams within senior living and home health to help provide access to high-quality virtual reality content for the direct care workforce.
Who: We've found that clinical educators, nursing staff, learning & development teams, human resources and recruitment professionals are best-suited to use virtual reality based on what we've seen and know about how their greatest challenges match up with virtual reality's greatest benefits.
What: Our solutions come in two forms:
i) a subscription to our library of senior care content for staff and caregiver training; and
ii) end-to-end custom content development and distribution for your organization.
We will help you decide which solutions are right for you based on your needs, timeline, and budget.
No matter which path you decide to take, we will ensure that you have access to the highest quality interactive storytelling modules that suit your needs and drive meaningful change.
Wherever there is a need to educate patients and train caregivers, we are ready to apply our vast clinical expertise, storytelling capabilities, and cutting-edge technologies to deliver powerful experiences that improve outcomes.
C. Is VR meant to replace our nurses and staff?
No. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
One of virtual reality’s most powerful effects will actually act to strengthen the quality of connections between your patients, residents, and staff.
We understand that for any new technology to work in a clinic it needs to have the support of both the patients using it and the caregivers facilitating its use.
At the end of the day, VR is not only about improving measurable outcomes for patients and staff, it’s about building connections and improving communication.
By providing your organization with a tool like virtual reality, you’re fostering an environment that empowers patients and staff alike.
D. Who is responsible for the VR headsets?
We include a virtual reality headset with your subscription. Your subscription rate is based on how many headsets you need and how much content you’d like to have access to.
IKONA will own and ultimately be responsible for the VR headsets that you will be using. That means we’ll take care of any repairs you need beyond basic maintenance and cleaning.
E. What if we need more/less headsets?
Just let us know!
We’ll take care of that for you and adjust your monthly subscription accordingly -- It’s that simple.
And when you’re getting started and trying to figure out “how many do I need to begin with?”, we’ll be able to help out there as well.
F. How will we know if it’s working?
You will know IKONA’s VR solutions are working because you will have concrete data to back it up.
Thanks to our ability to measure subjective metrics like satisfaction and confidence and objective measures like learning and retention, you’ll now have a whole new level of understanding of the needs of your patients and staff.
What better way to iterate and improve the learning experience and training programs than to have actionable insights from which to guide your plan of care?
Do you have an existing LMS that you use? Perfect! Now you’ll be able to improve upon those programs with immersive data in a way that’s engaging for users and goes well beyond satisfying the minimum requirements.
Production & Distribution
We handle everything from content creation to distribution, so all you have to do is subscribe to get all the benefits of VR and data analytics at a fraction of the cost.
IKONA is a truly end-to-end solution: we take the lead on every single step, from ideation through production and distribution. Of course, many partners enjoy the process of working with us in the early stages of the creative storytelling process -- and we love it too!
We have several partnership examples where we’ve worked with an organization to create content for our subscriptions, which ultimately resulted in a compelling interactive storytelling module that now benefits people all over the world.
We are constantly developing new content for our subscribers. As soon as we make new content modules available in our app, all of our subscribers instantly get access to those modules in their headsets.
B. Advantages of the IKONA subscription model?
Many groups we speak with have experienced VR at least once or twice before. A few have even produced their own VR content internally, though they’ve faced many of the same challenges we’ve learned and adapted our business to address.
So when it comes to enterprise VR business models, they want to know which advantages separate the IKONA model from what they’ve seen before.
Let’s take a quick look at the current model for producing VR projects:
Without IKONA: A production company with limited VR experience charges you more than you’d like, then spends half a year producing a 360° film riddled with errors before delivering you a final project file in a video format you’ve never heard of.
IKONA is constantly adding new content to its library, from Senior Stories to Renal Care, and everything in between. All of our libraries are accessible with a monthly subscription -- and the best part is, as we improve and add to these libraries they immediately become available on the devices you already have.
Our production team includes some of the world’s most acclaimed VR filmmakers, and our company is an official Google VR partner. This means we have access to Google’s top-tier camera packages and algorithmic post-production workflows, so we deliver beautifully made, highly effective training projects in a fraction of the time it takes other companies to produce a single VR film.
Without IKONA: Your IT team spends months compressing and recompressing your project’s video file, trying to find the right format that will allow you to sideload the film onto a VR headset. . Once the file is on the headset, each viewer suffers through several false starts and moments of confusion as they navigate the clunky menu systems and stumble through UX pitfalls in their attempts to actually watch the film.
IKONA offers a way to take the film we’ve created for you and deploy it across all of your devices immediately and seamlessly. Our VR app is tied to a centralized Content Management System that makes wide-scale distribution possible. When your user puts on the VR headset, they are ready to experience the content with a simple user interface and design.
Updates and adjustments.
Without IKONA: After testing your film on your patient population, you want to add interactive elements to increase engagement. The production company tells you the only way forward is to restart the production process. This means mounting costs and time, and with no additional certainty that you’ll get the ROI or the film you’re looking for. Once you have the new film, you’ll also have to restart the sideloading process on each of your deployed headsets.
IKONA has tools that allow us to modify your content once it’s been made. We can insert interactive features like surveys, FAQs, and branching narratives into your film, or can even license additional content directly from IKONA to suit your patients’ needs. All updates are immediate--no fussing with files, and no protracted negotiations. You ask, our system delivers.
C. Why does content quality matter?
Earlier we discussed the value of immersive learning environments in recruiting multiple areas of the brain. Immersive delivery is important for enhancing things like learning and retention, but it’s just one pillar of perceptual representation.
Content production matters as well. There is a necessary distinction between delivery and content in terms of learning, and both are required for the creation of effective learning environments -- having only one of these in place will lead to suboptimal experiences and outcomes. It simply isn’t enough to have an effective delivery system without quality content, and vice versa -- IKONA has both (Learn more).
Our subscription model is priced per headset starting at $149 per month. This subscription includes an Oculus Go VR Headset with unlimited access to the content you’ve selected.
We developed this model after hearing feedback that usage-based educational software solutions were getting to be too expensive for many providers. When you subscribe to IKONA’s service, your subscription rate stays stable, whether you have 10 users or 1000 users in a given month.
For a monthly subscription you get access to the highest quality evidence-based VR content for as many patients and caregivers as you need.
And that’s just the beginning.
What you learn about your patients and caregivers from having them experience these modules is equally (if not more) important than the modules themselves.
B. Who pays for VR?
These three departments have seen the greatest ROI from using VR:
Clinical Education / Nursing / Staff Development
Learning & Development
Human Resources / Talent Management
Although IKONA is often compared to a Learning Management System (LMS), we’re noticing that many providers see the value in having a complementary training tool that people enjoy and is more accessible than the computer-based training tools.
Also, the fact that we are able to leverage virtual reality’s immersive environments means that our feedback adds tremendous value to these platforms and programs.
And the value we are adding is driving measurable improvements to real outcomes.
To give you an idea of some of the challenges that our subscribers are addressing with virtual reality, they include:
Staff turnover and recruitment
Scaling one-on-one programs
Soft skills training / challenging scenarios
We always begin with discovery.
We'll work with you every step of the way to ensure that our virtual solutions are improving real experiences and outcomes for your organization, community or team.
Tracking ROI is an essential part of your responsibilities (and for us, too!), which is why we’re here to provide you with the data you need to make the right decision for you and your organization.
What happens during and as a result of our VR experience must transform those who experience it in a meaningful, measurable way.
At the end of the day, there is always a way to make VR a reality for your organization. We feel that it is our responsibility to make virtual reality’s unique and compelling benefits widely accessible.
We would love the chance to support you and your team. Please visit our partnerships page for more information on how partnering works.
How can we help?