NEW YORK, New York, March 1 2018: Why bring virtual reality into hospitals? Because it gets results.
This is the message of Tim Fitzpatrick, CEO of Ikona, a New York-based medical technology start up focusing on virtual and augmented reality. Next week, Fitzpatrick and his team will attend the HIMSS trade show in Las Vegas to launch their new business-to-business VR app, IkonaVR.
IkonaVR is a turnkey solution for hospitals eager to harness the power of virtual reality. The app’s core is a custom-built VR player that allows hospitals to immerse patients in therapeutic 360° content. Licensees also receive access to Ikona’s growing library of VR films--including pre-surgical and catheter care modules--as well as the software necessary to build customized VR playlists for patients based on their individual needs. Should hospitals require content modules that do not yet exist, Ikona will deploy their in-house production team to fill in the gaps. In addition, Ikona has created a supply chain solution to ensure partner hospitals receive the VR goggles, or “HMDs” (Head Mounted Displays), that they need to run the app.
“There’s a lot of jargon and hype around VR, but what matters to me is that it’s actually helping,” explains Fitzpatrick. “We can study interactions, and ultimately improve experiences.” A former Naval officer who spent years in and out of hospitals while managing a flight-related injury, Fitzpatrick says his motivation for getting involved with Ikona is as personal as it is profit-driven. “I know what it’s like to face down procedures that you don’t comprehend, and understand the fear and stress that come with going to the hospital. When I saw the results from the first VR trials our team ran at Dartmouth, I knew I had to be involved.”
Ikona’s data-driven strategy was developed by Dr George Kakoulides and Dr Kimon Bekelis, two neurosurgeons who first used VR as a pre-surgical tool. In their initial trials, run at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire -- and published in The Annals of Surgery, one of the top medical journals in the country -- Kakoulides and Bekelis showed patients a short VR narrative depicting a patient checking into a hospital, receiving surgery and being safely released. Patients who experienced the piece saw a marked drop in anxiety, and a greater understanding of what to expect from their hospital visit. With their stresses managed, these patients were at ease both before and after their procedures. “The data is clear,” offers Bekelis. “Our virtual reality solutions increase patient satisfaction, which is vitally necessary in the wake of recent healthcare reforms in the US.” Today, patient-reported outcomes are critically important to hospitals, since many providers have faced significant financial penalties for failing to meet benchmarks in a reimbursement landscape that rewards quality over quantity. How a patient regards the outcome of an intervention is a key indicator of success under the current system--and Ikona creates products that ensure that patients leave hospitals satisfied.
With IkonaVR launching, Fitzpatrick is busy looking for other ways to make a difference in the lives of patients. “The next frontier is medication adherence,” he says. “Too many people are not taking their medications properly, or at all. Oftentimes, what’s holding them back is something simple, like not fully understanding why they need a particular pill, or how to fill their pillbox.”
Ikona’s solution is Pill Planner, a new smartphone application which uses augmented reality to teach patients how to stock their pillbox with exactly the right pills. A demo of Pill Planner will be shown alongside IkonaVR at HIMSS, and Fitzpatrick expects prospective users will regard the product with a certain measure of wonder. “Augmented reality is still so new that it sometimes feels like magic,” Fitzpatrick explains, “but, like everything we create at Ikona, the results are real.”
For an embeddable 3-minute film about Pill Planner and its developer Ziv Schneider, go here: https://vimeo.com/252384003/b3d3fe92e8
For web- and print-ready pictures, logo set, and an mp4 of the above video, here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=113givM2Cn4KmSFJHvdoiuNL45Rj7Uxty
For details on this press release or to arrange an interview with the Ikona team, please contact CEO Tim Fitzpatrick directly at +1 (347) 326-3966 or Tim@ikona.health
About Ikona (www.ikona.health)
IKONA creates immersive content and mixed reality applications designed to transform the patient experience and train the next generation of healthcare providers. Working at the intersection of storytelling, healthcare and technology, IKONA collaborates closely with medical institutions to identify their needs, and implements research-backed solutions that have been clinically proven to decrease patient stress and increase patient satisfaction.
Contact: Tim Fitzpatrick
Tel: +1 (347) 326-3966