HIMSS 2017 – Digital Innovation in the Healthcare Space

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Another HIMSS conference is over and the experience of participating for the first time in Mativision’s history may have been a little overstimulating perhaps, but it was hands-down one of the best experiences we’ve had at a conference so far.

How did Mativision end up in Orlando at the world’s largest Healthcare-Meets-IT conference, where more than 50,000 delegates from around the globe gathered to network and show off the latest healthcare innovations to emerge on the scene, as they have since 1961? In a word: Innovation!

Following the launch of our VRinOR® platform last year, we initiated a conversation with Samsung on both sides of the pond because our platform has been a huge success so far on the Samsung Gear VR devices, with more than 65,000 downloads of the app on the Gear VR store. So, before we knew it, we’d been invited by the USA Samsung Healthcare team to showcase our VR livestreaming capabilities at their booth during HIMSS 2017.

During three action-packed days at HIMSS, and with the invaluable help of Dr. Manos Fandridis, we livestreamed three surgeries from the largest trauma hospital (KAT) in Athens, Greece, direct to a Samsung Gear VR device in Samsung’s booth. The surgeries were viewed across the world and attracted a ton of HIMSS attendees in the booth.

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The most valuable insight we extracted as we showcased our VR technology and the VRinOR® platform this year at HIMSS was that the healthcare vertical is hungrier than ever before for innovation and disruption. Walking around more than 100 booths in the main exhibition hall, we witnessed all the major tech players (IBM, HP, Microsoft, Oracle and others) promoting technology for ‘better outcomes’ and ‘cost efficiencies.’  The most exciting innovations this year focus on aggregating vast amounts of data that hospitals and healthcare providers generate, and then organizing the info and making it available to the right people at the right time—helping them make better healthcare decisions and reduce the amount of time patients spend in healthcare facilities.

Needless to say, the use of mobile technology (smartphones and apps combined) is a major driver of this revolution in the space. It is also one of the reasons we see companies like Samsung showing a great interest in healthcare, and increasing their efforts to penetrate this robust and ever-expanding market.

Even though the presence of VR across the conference was nowhere near what we saw at CES, wherever VR was present it seemed to make a lot of sense of in terms of the role it can play. We attended a fascinating talk by Brennan Spiegel, Director of Health Services Research at Cedars-Sinai, highlighting his experience with VR and pain management. Brennan’s conclusions from a small controlled study indicated that VR was able to drop patients’ average self-reported pain scores from a 5.4 to a 4.1. A Two-Dimensional distraction experience in the control group only dropped that score to 4.8. And even though not all patients responded well to the VR experiment, the overall results were positive enough to trigger commission of larger research on VR and pain management.

We also saw our friends at AppliedVR creating VR content for pain management. Talking to their CEO, Josh Stackman, his experience so far has been that VR is way more engaging than any other medium, and therefore enables the human brain to absorb visual information faster and with better outcomes.

Echoing Josh’s quote, the VRinOR® analytics following the live-stream showed that viewers spent on average 10 minutes watching the live surgery content. To put this number into context, Google analytics indicate that VR content has an average viewing time of 1 minute which means that the attention span increased tenfold with VRinOR® content proving the high levels of engagement that our platform can provide in the training and education space.

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All this makes all of us at Mativision feel confident that we are absolutely on the right path with our VRinOR® platform. Our vision is to deliver better outcomes and drive costs down for the training and education of all involved in the provision of healthcare services no matter where they are in the world. HIMSS 2017 showed us that we are truly on the way.

We look forward to HIMSS 2018, and to the possibility of even more VR applications and successful case studies to showcase!