Introducing VIRTUALTIMES partners. PART I
As you may know, VIRTUALTIMES, funded by the European Union, is a project that is exploring and modifying the sense of time in virtual environments.
With the intention to provide you more information on how the project is progressing, we will be talking on the blog with each one of the partners, so that in their own words they can explain what VIRTUALTIMES is and share with us any update that has been reached month by month.
In this first presentation, we will introduce you to the role of Psious (PSICO) in VIRTUALTIMES.
Psious’ expertise resides in bringing medical and therapeutic meaning into the VR technology. Their participation in the project is important as Psious is one of the fastest VR developers in the world, using state-of-the-art technology with an incredible level of realism.
The role of Psious
“Psious is VT’s industry partner. As such, our main tasks evolve around the project’s final result: the solution MetaChron that will result from the experimental process followed during the research program. Apart from helping with its integration and interface, we are entrusted with the dissemination and commercialization of the solution” has explained Ricardo Sainz, Chief Medical Officer of Psious.
The main challenge for Psious is to find clinical applicability to a theoretical research tool that is being developed to assess the perception of time passage among people with mental health problems. As Sainz says “We have the responsibility of guiding the product ‘from the bench to the bedside’.”
The future of VIRTUALTIMES
We have asked Ricardo, what are the practical uses that VIRTUALTIMES could have in the future, and in his words: “This tool has the potential to become a biomarker for diagnosis, response to treatment, relapse indicator and prognostic factor for a variety of mental health problems. It may assist clinicians to make more accurate diagnosis, select the most appropriate treatment for their patients, monitor their improvement while watching out for early relapse signs or implement long term support plans adapted to individual patients’ needs, for instance. The main beneficiaries of this tool will be patients, their carers and clinicians and the healthcare systems they belong to.”
And how is the future of virtual reality applicable in medicine? “Virtual Reality has shown immense promise in the field of mental health by showing efficacy and cost-effectiveness over treatment as usual in a wide range of disorders such as anxiety disorders, depression, eating disorders, chronic pain, and PTSD. Given the current situation of intermittent confinement and pandemic, VR tools that are scalable, affordable, reliable and can be deployed under these conditions herald a promise for the maintenance of the therapeutic relationship, preservation of continuity of care and support of those most vulnerable people amongst us” Ricardo has said.
About Ricardo Sainz
Ricardo Sáinz Fuertes, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) of Psious, is a psychiatric doctor with a Doctorate in Neuroscience (Ph.D.) and a Master in Research Methods in Psychiatry (MSc) at Kings College London, Ricardo Sáinz has two decades of clinical experience in psychiatric care, clinical supervision, and scientific research. One of the most notable positions in his career is that of Consultant Psychiatrist in the National Health Service of the United Kingdom (NHS) as well as in private care services. Sáinz has also been a Specialist Advisor for the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of healthcare in the United Kingdom. In 2016, his professional career then changed course towards the pharmaceutical industry where he held the position of EU Medical Manager (Psychiatry and Neurology) in the pharmaceutical company Otsuka.