The ESA at GamesBeat 2023: How Video Games are Revolutionizing Healthcare

  • 05.25.2023
  • Events

This week, ESA participated in GamesBeat’s 15th annual Summit to explore how the video game industry is evolving to address challenges across sectors – including healthcare.

ESA President and CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis led a panel discussion with video game and technology pioneers who help treat serious mental and physical health conditions. Dr. Eddie Martucci, Co-Founder and CEO, Akili Interactive Labs; Dr. Laura Tabacof, Assistant Professor, Department of Rehabilitation and Human Performance at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Mirelle Phillips, Founder and CEO, Studio Elsewhere joined ESA to share how they utilize video games to push the boundaries in their fields and beyond.

“Using immersive technology provides something that is incredibly resource-efficient to people who are time-impoverished,” said Mirelle Phillips in highlighting how Studio Elsewhere Recharge Rooms have become an increasingly popular outlet for healthcare workers, especially following the COVID-19 pandemic. “When you pair something quite popular to experience and robust data, analytics and the research we are seeing with our academic partners at Mount Sinai, there’s something there that everybody is learning from around well-being that’s moving the needle forward collectively.” In less than 15 minutes, immersive experiences in the Recharge Rooms help healthcare workers improve their cognitive health and better address their emotional needs, burnout and anxiety.

Healthcare is not one-size-fits-all and expanding patients’ options is one of the many benefits of investing in innovative treatments. As Dr. Laura Tabacof emphasized, innovative technologies, such as video games, offer healthcare providers new options when patients are not responding to traditional treatments. “It’s all about the data that you share. So, when you’re showing that you’re improving patient outcomes they start to listen. People working in chronic pain management or mental health management have patients who are not responding to their treatment, so they also need somewhere else to send their patients to. The need is there and hospital leadership is becoming more and more interested.”

With partners from biotech backgrounds and entertainment companies like Lucasfilm, Dr. Eddie Martucci and co-founder Adam Gazzaley, MD, Ph.D., collectively created a one-of-a-kind treatment with EndeavorRX which demonstrated that partnerships across a wide range of industries can lead to better patient outcomes. Credibility and perception were cited as essential to building confidence in therapeutics and treatment options. “If we can say that the design from the UX is supporting the treatment and vice-versa – that’s the win…The ability to have both is actually what is going to change the world.” Dr. Martucci explained that when presenting EndeavorRX to institutions like the FDA, it was crucial to leverage his understanding of traditional mental health care and aim to transform a patient’s response to treatment into something they looked forward to.

Looking ahead, the opportunities to combine healthcare and video games continue to grow. Studio Elsewhere’s Founder, Mirelle Phillips emphasized non-pharmaceutical treatments receive a high level of patient engagement while also mitigating the impacts of intensive drugs and surgeries and open the door for a great deal of opportunity. Akili’s Dr. Martucci followed up by discussing the company’s recent clinical trial data and plans to move with urgency to help adults with ADHD and depression. Mount Sinai’s Laura Tabacof added that her team is constantly looking to evolve the VR experience and harness healthier brain-body connections to empower the patient and advance the field.

Listening to experts, patients and video game players alike can lead to more options for care and potentially improved patient outcomes. The intersection between healthcare and video games will likely continue to grow alongside technological advancements. The possibilities of how video games can be harnessed to revolutionize healthcare are abundant. The ESA anticipates that the video game industry and healthcare professionals, experts and leaders will continue to innovate to provide efficient and exciting options that improve patient outcomes, accessibility and equity.

About the ESA

The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) serves as the voice and advocate for the U.S. video game industry. Its members are the innovators, creators, publishers and business leaders that are reimagining entertainment and transforming how we interact, learn, connect and play. The ESA works to expand and protect the dynamic marketplace for video games through innovative and engaging initiatives that showcase the positive impact of video games on people, culture and the economy. For more information, visit the ESA’s website or follow the ESA on Twitter @theESA.

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