Medibank Launches Virtual Reality ‘Joy’ For Hospitals


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Hospital patients will be able to escape boredom by immersing themselves in virtual reality. Medibank today launched the VR experience which is being made available on the new Google Daydream View VR headset platform. The insurer says it’s one of the first health products to launch on Daydream View globally.

It says its VR experience called “Joy” will be available in select partner hospitals across the country in time for Christmas, a time when many hospital patients can experience intense loneliness and disconnection from the festive season.

Medibank quotes ACA Research which says Australians who had been hospitalised for an extended time felt loneliness was particularly prevalent during a hospital stay.

Three in five patients (59 per cent) says they feel disconnected from loved ones, and 57 per cent feel isolated, despite being surrounded by other patients, visitors and hospital staff.

It says ‘Joy’ transports patients into a virtual world by offering an immersive audiovisual environment which helps alleviate feelings of social isolation.

However whether VR can really help patients overcome intense loneliness or just offers a temporary distraction remains to be seen.

Liminal clinical neuroscientist and neuropsychologist, Sami Yamin, says Joy was conceived out of extensive research into the known alleviators of loneliness — including pet therapy, bibliotherapy and the incorporation of nature scenes — “resulting in an experience which takes patients into a virtual world where they can feel comfort and connection.”

Online Source: The Australian Business Review.

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