IMI is currently involved in a study in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego county hospital burn center. Each year approximately 450 burn victims are admitted to the center, and hundreds more are treated as outpatients. Burn victims span all ages, and consultants from all fields of medical specialties are available.
When patients are resting, medication is often adequate for controlling burn pain. However, during wound care such as daily bandage changes, wound cleaning, staple removals etc., medication ceases to be effective in controlling the excruciating pain. Traditional pain management techniques are not sufficient, particularly in children.
IMI has begun research on the use of Virtual Reality to distract patients during wound care. Since pain perception has a strong psychological component, incoming pain signals can be interpreted as painful or not depending on what the patient is thinking. Virtual Reality immerses the patient in an environment, causing attention to be distracted. The study at UCSD is collecting controlled data that support the evidence that was gathered from preliminary case studies in this field.