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VR Tech Therapeutic Solution Launched in HK

A tech company operating under the Hong Kong Smart Government Innovation Lab announced that it has launched a new solution that is now ready to be acquired by companies and institutions.

Solution description

For the most part, patients with mental health problems have been treated primarily with drugs and a variety of verbal therapeutic treatments such as cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). However, these treatment tools are very limited. The effectiveness of verbal therapeutic treatments is highly dependent on the skills of individual therapists. Moreover, the side effects of drug treatments may not be tolerable by all patients. In general, these are the problems faced by therapists in treating patients with mental illnesses.

Virtual Reality, VR in short, is a technology that reveals its power in offering VR users a sense of immersion in a target environment without actually having the person be physically present in that environment. Plenty of academic research has been conducted on how VR can be used as a means of treatment for patients with mental health problems.

The system to be developed in this project will deploy VR to create various treatment scenarios for patients with mental health problems elevating the effectiveness of the therapists’ treatment.

The project has a cross-disciplinary and innovative nature deploying various technologies such as VR, gaming, video streaming, software engineering and psychological therapy. It is innovative in that it creates a new treatment paradigm for medical practitioners in treating their patients besides using verbal CBT and drugs. Moreover, VR by itself is an innovative technology.

This system could also become a disruptive technological product such that it could become standard equipment in every psychiatric treatment facility in the world, a whole new market that does not exist up till now.

There are only a few VR therapy systems known around the globe. Most of them are developed in the United States and Europe. Any new entrant to this market faces little competition at this moment, particularly in Asia. The competitive advantage of this system will be:

  • The first or maybe the second VR therapy system developed locally in HK
  • The system will be co-developed with local medical institutions and academia on requirements gathering and clinical trials ensuring it is clinically effective in treating local patients.
  • The system will also be co-developed with China and Taiwan medical academia on clinical trials ensuring treatment effectiveness for patients of these territories.

Application Areas

The solution is being developed to be applied across various healthcare areas.

Technologies Used

The solution employs Mobile Technologies as well as Virtual Reality.

Use Case

A survey published in 2019 indicated that one of the most common psychiatric problems found in the general public of Hong Kong is people suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after traffic accidents. Nowadays the psychiatrists usually prescribe medication to the patients while clinical psychologists conduct therapy treatment through verbal communications to the patients.

One of the limitations in verbal therapy is the exposure needed for the patients to experience the road environment again. Hence, VR technology can be deployed by clinical psychologists to immerse the patients into the road environment for seeking a controlled level of exposure needed. In this way, the treatment effectiveness can be elevated saving the cost of taxpayers.

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