TORONTO – Yan Fossat, vice president of Klick Labs, believes technology like virtual reality can facilitate communication and bring a new level of understanding and comfort to patients when they are managing their health at home.
HHTN:What are some of the biggest barriers to communication between doctors and their patients?
FOSSAT:Physicians often speak in “jargon-y” language, using medical terms and descriptions that make it hard for patients to understand what they’re saying. Patients usually come to the table with a lack of fundamental knowledge. They have a lower understanding of physiology so it makes it difficult to decipher what the physician is telling them.
HHTN:How can technology like virtual reality help overcome this obstacle?
FOSSAT:A book or a brochure that you might get from your physician is not really tailored to your specific body or condition. It might have general information but it’s not personalized. Virtual reality is interactive and can be tailored to you—it’s not like watching a video. With certain equipment like goggles, a patient can take the technology home and experience it in a comfortable surrounding, or they can experience it right in the physician’s office. The comfort level and interactive experience increases comprehension of the information.
HHTN:What are the benefits of virtual reality?
FOSSAT:When a new technology is introduced everyone gets excited and sees a world of possibilities. Now that it has matured and been out there for a while, we can see where VR is really superior. Pain mitigation is emerging as a leading stream, as well as communication of information. Virtual reality can pack a lot of information in a small amount of time. VR is not great for people who have vision or balance issues, and there are logistics involved like equipment, but we are seeing great interest from areas like cardiology and nutrition or areas where a nurse might have to train a patient on something. We’re exploring a fairly large area of implementation.
HHTN:How is technology impacting the way health care is being delivered?
FOSSAT:Technology can really help us, but we need to look at the problem first and then use technology as a toolbox to solve it. The beauty of technology is that there are new tools being developed all the time. People get excited about new technology but we have to really slow down and learn what it’s all about, look at the list of problems in health care and then see where we can apply it.