Rescape Innovation Limited: Reducing Pain and Anxiety Through Virtual Reality

Matt Wordley | CEO | Rescape

In several healthcare specialisms, doctors and caregivers are often puzzled about the best way to help their patients cope with pain and anxiety, two dominant concerns of their suffering.

This is because patients during treatments are usually focused on their pain, which increases their perception of pain. Not only do they feel anxious about it, but they also end up feeling helpless and out of control over the situation. In response to such a pain dilemma, distraction has proven to be an effective coping tool to help patients reduce their pain and anxiety. It encourages them to focus on a specific task (i.e., a pleasurable activity, puzzles, games, etc.) and attain a sense of control.

With the proven effectiveness of distraction as a tool, Rescape Innovation Limited provides a unique solution to ease the lives of patients. Its Class-one innovative medical device, DR.VR™, enables quick, easy, and monitorable deployment of virtual reality therapy to improve the patients’ reported level of pain and has been effective compared to opioid analgesics.

In an interview with Insights Care, Matt Wordley, the CEO, talks about the role of virtual reality in clinical practice, along with Rescape’s contribution in delivering it to improve the experience of patients’ pain and anxiety.

Below are the highlights of the interview.

Kindly brief us about the company and its inception story.

Rescape Innovation was born when I attended a TED talk by a palliative care consultant, Professor Mark Taubert, who explained the difficulties of communicating with his patient cohort. There I developed an interest in immersive technology through other business interests and felt that I would be able to use the technology to address some of the issues that had been raised in the TED talk. I spoke to Professor Taubert immediately after the talk and the journey of Rescape began!

Please tell us about yourself and your professional journey so far.

I am one of the original creators of The Orchard Media Events Group. I have been instrumental in building it into a world-class agency, TV production company, and Live Music promoter. As an earlier adopter and advocator of VR technology within Orchard, Rescape was spun out to unlock the healthcare opportunity, and I took the reigns as CEO.

What are the core values of the company? How are you driving the company to achieve its mission and vision statement?

Very early on we saw the impact that Virtual Reality Therapies could have on patients’ pain and anxiety. This was anecdotal but very clear and we started to evidence this impact. We committed then to helping as many patients as possible have access to VR treatments. This core value is an important principle we try to benchmark everything we do against. VR should be available to all and we’re determined to deliver against this promise.

Could you please list the key products and offerings of the company? Also, please put light on any service that is the company’s USP.

DR.VR is a Class 1 medical device that is being utilized by hospitals, care homes and hospices to alleviate anxiety and reduce the perception of pain for patients and family members of patients. Another product is Frontline, which has been designed to support the well-being of NHS staff and has also been adopted by several universities to support staff and students.

The priority for our development team is on ensuring that user-centric design is at the heart of all we do as that gives us the ability to deploy simple solutions at scale, ensuring that the benefits of immersive therapeutics are enjoyed by as wide an audience as possible.

In your opinion, what are the current challenges in the pain management industry? How are you infusing your leadership skills and expertise over the years to create a flourishing industry with opportunities and growth?

We are at the beginning of a fundamental shift in medicine adopting a more holistic view of the patient. Historically mental and physical health have been treated independently as if they were unconnected and this divide is very slowly being bridged.

Pain is a complex, multifaceted biopsychosocial problem that requires a solution that addresses multiple elements concurrently and chronic pain clinics are now starting to use a multidisciplinary approach to treatment involving psychiatrists, psychologists, anesthetists, physiotherapists, nurses and occasionally social workers.

Our job is to build the evidence base to prove that Immersive Therapeutics should be an important component in treating pain by addressing mental and physical health at the same time and become a mainstay in the suite of treatment options to help patients.

What are the latest technological advancements adopted by your company to deliver the best pain management services in the industry? How is it impacting the demographic concerned?

We call ourselves pragmatic technologists; the real world is never easy and always messy. We are proud that our DR.VR solution is user-friendly for both patients and clinicians. We have a phrase we use when developing content “Don’t create things to watch but space to inhabit.” This is a key remit for successful VR pain therapies; the deeper level of immersion we create, the more success we can create.

As an experienced leader, what advice would you like to give to aspiring entrepreneurs and enthusiasts who wish to venture into the competitive industry that you are serving?

Understand the complete system you are trying to work within. Sadly it’s not good enough to just create a Virtually Reality that has therapeutic benefits. You have to deliver a simple and deployable solution. Read up, research and embrace user-centric design practice and you will develop much better solutions. At times that means embracing the elephant in the room and tackling the hard things head-on. There are so many examples where we have done this from a lack of NHS wifi to infection control protocols or making sure our content reduces motion sickness.

What are the future goals of the company? How does it envision scaling up its operations and reach in 2022 and beyond?

The opportunities for the use of VR in healthcare are in their infancy. We have several exciting research projects that will be concluding in 2023 and we’re excited about the opportunities this will open. Referencing our core values, we want to give access to as many people as possible and in ’23 we will be launching a pain solution that can be accessed from home. This in part, is driven by a growing number of patients that have asked if they can use the solution at home.

Give us a few testimonials from your clients or customers and awards or recognition that accurately highlight your company’s position in the market.

“VR intervention demonstrated a significant reduction in patient and parental anxiety both pre-operatively and in the fracture clinic.”

“The improvement in patients’ reported pain after VR, particularly for those patients with higher pain scores (3.41 points out of 10), was remarkable and is comparable with opioid analgesics.”

Dr. Ceri Lynch, published in ICU Management.

“91% [of patients] reported lower anxiety levels after using the headset.”

Potter, T., Curran, Jr, 2021 Using DR.VR® in a Burns Unit

“I have been a nurse for over 25 years, working mainly in cancer and palliative care, and this was probably one of the most amazing, moving and beautiful experiences I have witnessed.”

Gillian, Lead Nurse, Marie Curie Hospice, Newcastle

“The mindfulness areas teaching me how to calm and breathe were amazing for my worry and anxiety.”

PID 105, FRONTLINE RELIEF: A brief evaluation

“I think it’s really good for taking you out of a stressful environment and calming you down. I like that there were lots of different options for what to do because people have very different preferences.”

University Hospital Bristol & Weston Evaluation Documentation

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