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A Massive VR Deployment: Waya Health Installs Virtual Reality System in VHA Centers Nationwide

Waya Health announced one of the largest single deployments of virtual reality within a US healthcare system, company president Joe Morgan, MD, said.

The project entails implementation of Waya Health’s immersive virtual reality (VR) creative arts therapy application across 56 Veterans Health Administration (VHA) medical centers, from New York City to Los Angeles, and Spokane to Miami.

“We are proud to provide the VHA with a unified system that promotes many ways of veterans healing, virtually,” Dr. Morgan said.

Under its $1.8 million contract with VHA, Waya Health shipped more than 350 VR systems with its proprietary software to VHA medical centers in 34 states and Puerto Rico. The company also is providing training, technical support, and software upgrades over the course of the two-year contract.

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“The potential for immersive technology, specifically VR, to positively impact the lives of our staff and veterans is endless,” said Anne Lord Bailey, PharmD, director of Clinical Tech Innovation and co-lead of VHA Extended Reality Network. “From helping address pain to empowering rehabilitation, we are seeing veterans engage in their care in really powerful ways. Creative arts therapy VR has been no exception.”

Creative arts therapies promote physical, emotional, psychological, and social rehabilitation. They also help to relieve pain and other symptoms related to terminal illnesses.

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The VR creative arts therapy modules that Waya Health developed and VHA is using include painting, dancing, drama, and playing musical instruments in addition to evidence-based relaxation environments.

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VHA began using and testing Waya Health’s technology in 2018 in a variety of clinical situations in its hospitals and community living centers, including pain relief, mental health, and clinical assessments.

“VHA has been an incredible embracer of innovation,” Dr. Morgan said. “They’re light years ahead of the rest of healthcare with a system-wide, integrated, virtual reality system. They’re going to reap the benefits in terms of outcomes, from a cost standpoint, and in terms of the kinds of care they’re able to provide.”

“As clinicians, we understand that giving the same quality of care that we did yesterday is never going to be good enough. We are always trying to raise the bar and find new ways of improving care. At Waya, we are making it easy for innovative healthcare institutions to leverage virtual reality to accomplish just that!”

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