An interactive virtual reality tour for adolescents receiving proton radiation therapy: Proof-of-concept study

Jorge Galvez, Melanie Eisenhower, William England, Elicia Wartman, Allan Simpao, Mohamed Rehman, Robert Lustig, Michelle Hribar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Child life therapists provide patient education for children undergoing radiation therapy to assist in coping with and understanding their treatment. Objective: This proof-of-concept study aimed to determine the feasibility of incorporating a 360-degree video tour via a virtual reality system for children scheduled to receive radiation therapy. The secondary objective was to qualitatively describe each subject's virtual reality experience. Methods: Children aged ⩾13 years scheduled to receive proton radiation therapy were included in the study. Subjects watched the 360-degree video of the radiation therapy facility in an immersive virtual reality environment with a child life therapist experienced in coaching children receiving radiation therapy and completed a survey after the tour. Results: Eight subjects consented to participate in the study, and six subjects completed the 360-degree video tour and survey. All the enrolled patients completed the tour successfully. Two subjects did not complete the survey. Two subjects requested to pause the tour to ask questions about the facility. Five subjects said the tour was helpful preparation before undergoing proton radiation therapy. Subjects stated that the tour was helpful because "git showed [them] what's to come" and was helpful to see "what it's like to lay in the machine." One subject said, "it made me feel less nervous." Six subjects stated that they would like to see this type of tour available for other areas of the hospital, such as diagnostic imaging rooms. None of the subjects experienced nausea or vomiting. Conclusions: The 360-degree video tour allowed patients to explore the treatment facility in a comfortable environment. Participants felt that the tour was beneficial and would appreciate seeing other parts of the hospital in this manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere11259
JournalJournal of medical Internet research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Child guidance
  • Patient simulation
  • Proton therapy
  • Radiotherapy
  • Virtual reality exposure therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics

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