Penumbra, Veterans Health Administration partner to create VR-based therapeutics

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Global medical device company Penumbra is partnering with the Veterans Health Administration Office of Healthcare Innovation and Learning to test, co-create and implement virtual reality-based rehabilitative healthcare solutions for veterans.

During the three-year collaboration, the partners will focus on creating therapy software and programs for veterans, including immersive experiences that can be used for remote therapeutic rehabilitation using Penumbra’s REAL y-Series platform designed for physical and cognitive rehabilitation. The offerings will primarily focus on neurorehabilitation and chronic condition management. 

This collaboration between VHA and Penumbra is exciting as it is multi-faceted: we are co-developing targeted tools to support rehabilitation, chronic conditions and other specific needs of veterans, and we are helping to scale and potentially provide broader access to this technology so that veterans are able to receive the care they need from wherever they are,” Gita Barry, president of immersive healthcare at Penumbra, told MobiHealthNews in an email. 


The publicly-traded company expanded its portfolio to include virtual reality offerings through its REAL Immersive System in 2019. 

Two years later, it released its REAL i-Series, bringing immersive, gaze-based experiences to care providers and mental health professionals. In 2022, the company released its y-Series, focusing on physical and cognitive rehabilitation. 

In October, Penumbra’s CEO Adam Elsesser told MobiHealthNews the company plans to create remote tools for rehabilitation. 

“Therapists are amazing, and eventually we’ll have a home version that the therapist also can control, where you can do the experience remotely, but also then the therapist can give people homework that is controlled by them. So, it’s not like they’re just putting it on and playing, but they’re doing the exercises that therapists can look at and see the data around your movement. It’s all recorded. It’s very much a healthcare-focused tool,” Elsesser said.

Another company utilizing immersive technology to provide rehabilitative care is the Texas-based startup Neuro Rehab VR, whose XR Therapy System assists therapists through virtual reality and immersive worlds. 

Scott McKeithen, Marleen Welsh and Charles Baschnagel will offer more detail during the HIMSS23 session “Digital Biosurveillance Preparedness.” It is scheduled for Thursday, April 20 at 4 – 5 p.m. CT at the South Building, Level 5, room S501.


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