Bringing Virtual Reality to Cancer Patients

By Sara Bondell - September 27, 2019

Technology drives today’s world. We can order items online that arrive at our doorsteps the same day, change the television channel without a remote and bring the answer to any question imaginable right to our fingertips on smartphones.

When it comes to cancer treatment, health care is more complex than ever. It’s only natural for patients to experience significant fear, anxiety and stress. But what if we could harness today’s technology to revolutionize the health care industry and improve the patient experience?

That’s what Moffitt Cancer Center and Ringling College of Art and Design are hoping to do by partnering on a digital health initiative. By combining resources, the two intuitions will focus on developing creative content for health care technologies, such as virtual reality, animations for patient education, and training videos.

Dr. Sarah Hoffe, section head of Gastrointestinal Radiation Oncology at Moffitt Cancer Center.

“The collaboration with Ringling College will focus on the patient journey and how we can create meaningful tools to help decrease stress, enhance understanding of upcoming treatments, and connect patients through survivor stories so they don’t feel so alone,” said Sarah Hoffe, M.D., Moffitt’s section head of Gastrointestinal Radiation Oncology.

The partnership will also benefit Ringling College students across all majors, expanding their career opportunities.

“While our instructors and students value the professional advancement this Collaboratory engagement presents for them, perhaps even more impactful is the prospect of using their creativity for a project that will help cancer patients,” said Angela Leed, Ringling College interim faculty project director for the Collaboratory.

Moffitt and Ringling will also explore the possibility of developing a virtual reality health care innovations lab, entering into joint research projects and publications, and establishing a technology lecture series where students and faculty can engage with each other.

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