AUSTIN, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–April 6, 2022–
OxfordVR has successfully automated virtual reality psychological therapy for patients with mental illness. Users are guided by a virtual coach instead of an actual therapist, allowing treatment to reach many more patients. This is the first time that any digital therapy has been successfully shown to help patients with schizophrenia and mood disorders with psychotic symptoms.
The technology, called gameChangeVR TM, is a 6-week automated VR treatment that delivers cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) in safe and immersive virtual scenarios. In the largest-ever clinical trial of virtual reality for mental health published today in The Lancet Psychiatry, gameChange has been shown to help patients with schizophrenia and mood disorders with psychotic symptoms who experience anxiety and distress in everyday situations. VR treatment reduced avoidance and distress, improved paranoia, and improved quality of life when used in conjunction with standard drug therapy. The greatest benefits were felt by those with the most difficult psychological issues. Patients used virtual reality from the comfort of their homes or at their local mental health clinic.
“gameChange has the potential to virtually scale clinical outcomes far beyond what was thought possible even 5 years ago, providing the potential to effectively treat millions of patients with severe forms of mental illness,” says Deepak Gopalakrishna, CEO of OxfordVR.
Access to effective psychological therapies has been hampered by a shortage of clinicians. The problem is particularly acute for people with serious mental health problems. Automated VR offers an innovative and effective way out of this impasse. Therapies are implemented consistently and the results reproducible, scalable and rapid. GameChange results are delivered in just 6 weeks, with one 30-minute VR session per week, compared to standard treatment times for traditional CBT of 60 minutes per week for over 16 weeks.
Mike Desjadon, Commercial Director of OxfordVR, says:“The State of the Union has set a national goal of achieving parity between mental and physical health, but with only 30 psychologists per 100,000 Americans, resources are already stretched. Evidence must play a part in closing the gap, and the gameChange trial proved it can.
gameChange was developed by a multi-partner collaboration between OxfordVR, the University of Oxford and Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust to target intense fears associated with everyday situations experienced by patients with mental health conditions. For many patients, these fears turn into an inability to leave home, which severely disrupts relationships with family and friends; education and careers. gameChange is designed to help patients return to these activities.
The patients who benefited the most were those with the most acute psychiatric symptoms, such as severe anxiety, depression, delusions and hallucinations. These patients experienced lasting benefits that were maintained at six-month follow-up. Patient feedback showed the treatment to be very popular, with engagement rates of 90%.
“We’re thrilled that gameChange has produced great results for people with some of the toughest mental health issues. People who were largely housebound have moved back outside. Using today’s affordable and easy-to-use consumer VR gear, we believe gameChange will lead a transformation in the digital delivery of evidence-based psychological therapy, with large-scale deployment for treatments that really work. . »OxfordVR Scientific Co-Founder, Professor Daniel Freeman(Senior Investigator, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford).
OxfordVR is a digital therapy company developing immersive, evidence-based treatments using virtual reality for serious mental illness. Our treatments are reshaping the future of mental health care, fusing deep scientific evidence with emerging technology to create powerful new therapeutic tools for some of the world’s most challenging mental health conditions. OxfordVR is dedicated to improving world-class access to mental health, by automating gold standard treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). www.ovrhealth.com
gameChange was designed in collaboration with people with lived experience of psychosis and over five hundred hours of patient feedback, facilitated by the McPin Foundation, a mental health research charity that champions lived experience in research . During six three-hour sessions in virtual reality, users practice being in simulations of everyday situations: a café, a shop, a pub, a street, a doctor’s office and a bus. Treatment is personalized: patients can choose what to work on and when, and find the “sweet spot” of safety and challenge in order to overcome their fears. www.gamechangevr.com
gameChange is the largest ever clinical trial of virtual reality for mental health with 346 patients with psychosis across nine NHS Trusts in five English regions – Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham and Oxford. The results of the trial were published today in The Lancet Psychiatry: “Automated virtual reality therapy for treating agoraphobic avoidance and distress in patients with psychosis (gameChange): a multicenter, parallel-group, single-blind, randomized, controlled trial in England with mediation and moderation.”
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PUBLISHED: 04/06/2022 16:21 / DISK: 04/06/2022 16:21