Extensive partnerships – leading in clincal space

We are working with some of the worlds leading universities in exploring exciting EA collaborations and public/private partnerships.

We have partnerships underway in 5 NHS regions, a powerful trial starting in Asia with AXA Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (Yes I Can), a strategic partnership in the US with the National Mental Health Innovation Centre and a world-first large-scale NHS trial commencing to test VR therapy for serious mental health conditions (gameChange), Oxford VR is poised to accelerate adoption of its approach globally.


Supported by research

Our research is funded by the Wellcome Trust, the UK Medical Research Council, and the NHS National Institute of Health Research

Studies have demonstrated VR’s extraordinary potential to deliver rapid, lasting improvements in psychological health

VR Study Review

In October 2017 a review was completed of every study that has used VR to assess, understand and treat mental health conditions. In over 25 years, and 285 studies across the range of anxiety disorders, the results unequivocally confirm that VR is a proven modality for delivering rapid, lasting improvement for patients. Read more here.

In early 2018 Oxford VR conducted one of the largest randomised controlled trials of fear of heights treatments, in which 100 people who had suffered a fear of heights for an average of 30 years were randomly allocated either automated VR therapy or no treatment. The VR therapy was delivered via 30-minute interventions in a clinic, where a virtual assistant guided users through a cognitive treatment programme. On average, people spent approximately two hours in VR over five treatment sessions.

The findings, published in the Lancet Psychiatry, showed results that were better than outcomes typically delivered by premium face-to-face therapy. All participants in the VR group showed a reduction in their fear of heights, with the average reduction being 68%. Half of the participants saw a reduction in their fear of over 75%. These results demonstrate the dramatic effects on psychological wellbeing that automated VR therapy can produce.

The gameChange project

Oxford VR is a partner in the ground-breaking NHS-funded gameChange project. People with psychosis can find day-to-day life so anxiety-provoking that they withdraw. Everyday tasks like getting on a bus, doing the shopping or speaking to other people can become extremely challenging.

It is well documented that what works best is active coaching in the situations that trouble people, helping patients move beyond their fears. However, this is difficult without a skilled therapist who has the time to get out and about with patients. Equally, patients can often find the idea frightening. The gameChange study will take people into sophisticated simulations of the real-life scenarios they find troubling. These scenarios are delivered in a graduated way so patients are never presented with situations beyond their ability to cope.

Social Anxiety:

Furthermore, Oxford VR is also working on an immersive treatment to help young people with social anxiety. Treatments for depression and addiction, two global afflictions with major impact both on individual wellbeing and society at large, are also a central part of its strategy to tackle the most prevalent, debilitating, and costly psychological disorders.

Mental Wellbeing in Asia

We have partnered with AXA HK and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to offer ground-breaking treatment using Virtual Reality (VR) in Asia. The initiative called ‘Yes I Can’, starts with a pioneering trial to assess the effectiveness of VR treatment for mental wellbeing. More information on the trial can be found here: https://www.axa.com.hk/en/oxford-vr

The programme’s focus will be on people struggling with stress, worry and low mood. Stress is an inevitable part of daily working life, but when it gets out of control it can lead to reduction in mood and increased worry which, over time, can turn into anxiety and depression, with intrusive thoughts leading to withdrawal and avoidance of social situations in the mistaken belief that interaction with others is the cause. But this withdrawal leads to lower mood and greater anxiety in a vicious cycle.

Our evidence-based approach breaks and reverses this vicious cycle using VR to enable users to challenge their intrusive thoughts through positive experiences from social tasks guided by a virtual coach in various virtual environments.

Barnaby Perks, CEO at Oxford VR said

“Technology holds the key to making high-quality mental health care more patient-centred and accessible. This strategic partnership with AXA HK and The Chinese University of Hong Kong exemplifies our global leadership role in creating ground-breaking, clinically-validated, VR-enabled mental health solutions which have the capacity to bring unprecedented change to healthcare outcomes in the region.”

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