HARTFORD, Conn. – The Travelers insurance company is collaborating with Cedars-Sinai, Samsung Electronics America and Bayer to explore the effectiveness of a digital pain-reduction kit that uses therapeutic virtual reality and wearable technology as a non-pharmacological supplement to managing pain associated with acute orthopaedic injuries of the lower back and extremities. Cedars-Sinai’s Center for Outcomes Research and Education and Department of Orthopaedic Surgery will conduct a clinical research project over 16 months to improve outcomes for injured workers by leveraging VR technology. “Identifying new, non-pharmacologic alternatives for pain management can help an injured employee avoid chronic pain, lower the chances that they will develop a dangerous opioid addiction and reduce medical costs,” said Dr. Melissa Burke, national pharmacy director at Travelers, in a statement. The digital pain-reduction kit to be used in the trial consists of a Samsung Gear VR, powered by Oculus, headset; Samsung GearFit2 wearable; therapeutic pain management content, powered by biosensors provided by appliedVR; and an Aleve Direct Therapy transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation device, provided by Bayer. The kit will measure day-to-day functional status, work productivity and the use of pain medication of participants. “Health technology like virtual reality has tremendous potential to improve outcomes while saving costs, which is why we’re so excited about this collaboration among academia and industry,” said Dr. Brennan Spiegel, director of health services research at Cedars-Sinai, in a statement.
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