- Elijah Ko
- Innovation Design Engineering
- Inclusive interaction
Chronic pain has recently been highlighted as one of the most prominent causes of disability worldwide. Here in the UK, it affects 28 million adults.
Evidence-based behavioral strategies are effective methods, however, multiple barriers prevent patients from broadly accessing these low-risk and nonpharmacologic pain self-management tools. Barriers include few skilled local therapists, co-payments associated with clinic visits, travel costs, and treatment time. Even when delivered to patients at no cost, in-person behavioral treatments can have poor patient engagement, and remain therapist dependent, thereby suggesting a new delivery method to meet the needs of a broad range of patients.
Solution - painVRee
The “painVRree” project is a skill-based, self-administered, virtual reality intervention for chronic pain. It transcends many current barriers (few skilled local therapists, co-payments associated with clinic visits, travel costs, and treatment time) to provides a scalable way to deliver on-demand home-based behavioral treatment for chronic pain.
Diaphragmatic breathing, an evidence-based behavioral pain management technique, is conveyed in an intuitive and playful way.
The player’s breathing rhythm is used as a game controller to navigate a virtual pain portrait.
Heart rate, skin conductance, & peripheral body temperature of painful moments are used for monitoring treatment progress and formulating the pain portrait in VR.
I am working with 12 chronic pain patients. Validation was made in a longitudinal survey which was conducted across 3 time-point: pre-treatment, treatment, and post-treatment.
The primary aim is to evaluate the preliminary efficacy of VR intervention in terms of (i) average pain intensity, (ii) pain-related interference with activity, stress, mood and sleep, (iii) pain catastrophizing (negative cognition and emotion in the context of pain)
and (iv) pain self-efficacy (patients’ confidence in their ability to carry out their daily activities)
The secondary aim is to evaluate the feasibility and satisfaction of the treatment. This includes (i) 85% better change in pain (ii) 90% satisfaction and (iii) no motion sickness at all, indicating the potential feasibility for the elderly population.