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Digital Health pp 123-137 | Cite as

Augmenting Behavioral Healthcare: Mobilizing Services with Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

  • Brenda K. Wiederhold
  • Ian Miller
  • Mark D. Wiederhold
Part of the Health Informatics book series (HI)

Abstract

From tools for hunting and harvesting and monumental inventions of the industrial revolution that have propelled us into today’s ubiquitous information-age, innovative technologies and technological applications have transformed human-based experience. Abounding seemingly overnight, advanced technological applications have revolutionized the healthcare industry by mobilizing treatment and intervention services. While the advent of technologically driven mobile healthcare may appear to some as an emerging field, researchers, clinicians, and practitioners have been implementing contemporary technologies, such as virtual reality (VR), into their mental healthcare practices for over two decades. Clinically validated treatments for anxiety, phobias, pain distraction, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stress management and prevention, and rehabilitation are only a handful of ways that this immersive technology transforms behavioral healthcare. Via immersive environments, clinicians are better able to expose patients to feared stimuli than traditional imaginal techniques, providing greater effectiveness in treatments and significant improvements in patients’ overall wellbeing. Additionally, the mobilization of healthcare to smartphones and other devices facilitates the migration of services beyond the walls of the traditional doctor’s office and into the homes and everyday lives of those who need it most. Ultimately, innovative applications by researchers, clinicians, and practitioners prove VR and augmented reality (AR) technologies as effective, efficient, and widely accessible tools in mental healthcare interventions.

Keywords

Virtual reality Augmented reality Behavioral healthcare Advanced technologies Pain Anxiety Phobia Posttraumatic stress disorder Stress management Rehabilitation 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Brenda K. Wiederhold
    • 1
  • Ian Miller
    • 1
  • Mark D. Wiederhold
    • 1
  1. 1.Interactive Media InstituteVirtual Reality Medical CenterSan DiegoUSA

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