18 Mar 2024 | Robin Moulder
IVRHA’s 8th Annual Virtual Reality and Healthcare Global Symposium
Guest Writer

“The future is already here – it's just not evenly distributed.” ― William Gibson

Dr. Walter Greenleaf, Phd, Neuroscientist, included this quote in his inspiring keynote address aimed at encouraging dialog, debate and collaboration. The healthcare sector faces a critical challenge amidst an aging population and a shortage of skilled workers. The only way to solve this problem is through technology, so how can we work together to improve healthcare by leveraging technologies?

The IVRHA conference mission is exactly this. By bringing together subject matter experts, developers and customers it creates the space for these collaborations to grow and take shape and shines light on the digital healthcare revolution focused on leveraging immersive technology. With over 60 high-impact speakers, IVRHA has positioned itself as a leading driver of the adoption of immersive healthcare.

This year’s event was held in two nearby locations, the beautiful campus of Ringling College of Art & Design, known for animation and immersive design, and the Moffitt Cancer center, NCI-designated comprehensive cancer center that brings together researchers and physicians to deliver cutting edge care.

Conference highlights:

Every day at the conference was jam-packed with case studies and lessons learned from practitioners, scientists, researchers, administrators and developers on a mission to improve patient care and create better outcomes with solutions ranging from medical simulation to VR training implementations to digital therapeutics.

XR Training for Large Hospitals

Jeffrey Jacobson, Phd, Simulation Engineering Project Manager at Boston Children's Hospital delivered an important primer: “How to Build and Grow an XR Training Service in a Large Hospital Setting.” He shared his deep knowledge of practical strategies of working with clinical educators to identify, develop, and deliver training solutions all while keeping a focus on ROI.  

The Veterans Administration and XR

VA Immersive, a program led by Dr. Anne Lord Bailey, Executive Director, Strategic Initiatives Lab and Caitlin Rawlins, Deputy Director, Clinical Tech Innovation both of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, held an in-depth information session on understanding the process for working with the Veterans Administration. The VA has been instrumental in driving adoption though clinical implementation of immersive technology and this session provided potential development partners key information for successfully pitching projects to the VA. 


Treating Substance Use Disorders with VR

Dr. Jarrod Reisweber, Clinical Psychologist, also from the Department of Veterans Affairs, gave a passionate speech about the benefits of the VA ecosystem to support development of a virtual reality companion program to his evidence based Transcending Self Therapy program for Substance Use Disorder (TST-VR), which was proven to help both veterans and taxpayers. This talk also highlighted the amazing work that the VA is doing by partnering with outside companies. One such company is Lighthouse XR, which began a collaboration with the VA in 2020, successfully using VR in combination with traditional therapy to treat patients with substance abuse disorder. 

XR Healthcare Solutions, Universities, and Communities

And with 25+ booths from participating university and community organizations, as well as leading XR healthcare companies, conference participants had plenty of opportunities to check out the latest research as well as solutions available on the market. 



Dr. Walter Greenleaf presents the IVRHA Hero Award to Susan Kirsh MD MPH, Acting Deputy Assistant USH, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, in recognition of her years of dedicated service to ensuring veterans receive the highest level of care through leveraging emerging technology. 

A key sentiment repeated throughout the sessions and networking events was that we are at a transitional point where hospitals and healthcare providers no longer need to be convinced to adopt immersive solutions, rather they are seeking them out. Many thanks to Bob Fine for creating a collaborative community where XR and healthcare can come together to drive the future forward. 

Learn more about IVRHA’s 8th Annual Virtual Reality and Healthcare Global Symposium

About the Author

Robin is a recognized authority in the realm of spatial computing and has dedicated her career to pushing the boundaries of what's possible in the immersive computing landscape. As CEO of 3lb Games and 3lbXR, she is leading the development of innovative mixed reality applications, including their latest gaming release, Grokit, and leveraging the team’s years of XR game development into a new product, GroKit Core, an AI and spatial computing development platform. 

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