gms | German Medical Science

62. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e. V. (GMDS)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie

17.09. - 21.09.2017, Oldenburg

VIREP – Virtual Reality for chronic pain

Meeting Abstract

  • Benjamin Kinast - Corantis-Kliniken GmbH, Vechta, Deutschland
  • Thomas Schüler - SALT AND PEPPER software GmbH & Co. KG, Osnabrück, Deutschland
  • Monique Tabak - University of Twente, Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, Telemedicine group, Enschede, Niederlande; Roessingh Research and Development, Telemedicine group, Enschede, Niederlande
  • Annika Thomas - GewiNet Kompetenzzentrum Gesundheitswirtschaft e.V., Osnabrück, Deutschland
  • Bernhard Birmes - Corantis-Kliniken GmbH, Vechta, Deutschland
  • Pietro Bua - Inmote MedTech, Enschede, Niederlande
  • Carsten Giehoff - Fachhochschule Osnabrück, Osnabrück, Deutschland
  • René Heuven - Inmote MedTech, Enschede, Niederlande
  • Edda Ludwig - Corantis-Kliniken GmbH, Vechta, Deutschland

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie. 62. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Medizinische Informatik, Biometrie und Epidemiologie e.V. (GMDS). Oldenburg, 17.-21.09.2017. Düsseldorf: German Medical Science GMS Publishing House; 2017. DocAbstr. 253

doi: 10.3205/17gmds136, urn:nbn:de:0183-17gmds1365

Veröffentlicht: 29. August 2017

© 2017 Kinast et al.
Dieser Artikel ist ein Open-Access-Artikel und steht unter den Lizenzbedingungen der Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (Namensnennung). Lizenz-Angaben siehe



Background: Virtual reality (VR) can provide a realistic, engaging and personalized training environment to increase patient motivation and solidify treatment gains. Indeed virtual environments have been successfully used for the treatment of different patient groups, including neurologic rehabilitation [1], psychotherapy [2] and the treatment of acute pain [3]. The application of virtual reality for chronic pain shows a promising perspective [4], but so far, evidence-based VR solutions are not yet applied. As such our goal is to develop a virtual reality tool for chronic pain rehabilitation in the Netherlands and Germany and evaluate this within everyday practice.

Approach: User-centered iterative approach, involving medical professionals (i.e. rehabilitation physicians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists) and patients with chronic pain through focus groups, interviews and prototype testing. Agile development makes it possible to adapt and retest the system based on user feedback. Effect-study in two rehabilitation centers to establish clinical evidence.

The VIREP concept – virtual reality for chronic pain: VIREP uses VR technologies in an evidence-approach by facilitating well-established and proven methodologies for chronic pain treatment into the virtual environment. These include:

  • body awareness techniques, as part of cognitive behavioral therapy
  • biofeedback, where body signals can be used as conditioned stimuli
  • physical exercises for training

The patients exercise pick-and-place tasks in an exploratory everyday household environment using room scale VR technology. Therapists monitor the patient’s performance while coaching body awareness and movement execution. They also control environmental states to add cognitive load and challenge the patient’s attention. To ensure high usability and successful adoption into everyday healthcare practice, the VR system is connected to a web portal. This entails the following functionalities: administration of patient data, planning, VR parameters and presentation of results within a timeline.

By offering VIREP, we aim to provide a safe and relevant training environment that is supportive for chronic pain treatment, and contributes to better pain control and transfer to daily life. The VIREP system is applicable for individual and group therapy. Fields of application are e.g. rehabilitation facilities, pain ambulances, medical and physiotherapeutic practices. In the future, we aim to extend our VIREP towards supporting Tele-Health application.

Discussion: Currently we are evaluating the VIREP system in terms of feasibility, applicability and usability with 20 end users. This summer, we will start the clinical evaluation of VIREP, where we will evaluate the added value as part of chronic pain treatment. In the conference we will show our findings from the iterative development process and also the preliminary results from the implementation study. We would specifically like to discuss with the audience how we should proceed to have VIREP successfully implemented in healthcare? What is needed in the care centers? What are suitable business models?We hope to ignite active transboundary collaboration that is needed to see this technology in practical therapeutic application.

Acknowledgements: This work is part of the VIREP project (Virtual Reality for Pain Therapy) - funded by the European Union and the INTERREG-partners in the context of the INTERREG VA-program MIND - Medical Innovations NL/D.

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