Social Virtual Reality (VR) invites multiple users to "interact" in a shared immersive environment, which creates new opportunities for remote communication, and can potentially be a new tool for remote medical consultations. Using knee osteoarthritis consultation as a use case, this paper presents a social VR clinic that allows patients to consult a nurse represented as a virtual avatar with head, upper body and hands visible. We started with an ethnographic study at a hospital with three medical professionals and observed three patient consultation sessions to map the patient treatment journey (PTJ) and distill design requirements for social VR consultation. Based on the results of the study, we designed and implemented a social VR clinic to meet the identified requirements. Our work expands on the potential of social VR to help reshape patient treatment by reducing the workload of medical staff and the travel time of patients. In the future, we plan to conduct user studies to compare face-to-face (F2F) with social VR consultations.

Virtual reality, Social VR, VR consultation, Telehealth, User studies
ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Li, J, Chen, G, de Ridder, H, & César Garcia, P.S. (2020). Designing a social VR clinic for medical consultations. In Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings. doi:10.1145/3334480.3382836