A collaborative study in America is going to examine how effective virtual reality (VR) technology is as an alternative to drug-based pain relief.

Insurance giant, The Travelers Companies, will work with healthcare provider, Cedars-Sinai, Samsung Electronics America, Bayer, and others, to trial the ‘digital pain-reduction kit’ over the next 16 months. The kit will harness a variety of tech platforms, including the Samsung Gear VR and the Samsung GearFit2 wearable.

“Recent research we’ve led with appliedVR and Cedars-Sinai have demonstrated that virtual reality reduces pain in hospitalised patients and provides a non-pharmacologic alternative to opiates,” explained Dr David Rhew, Chief Medical Officer and Head of Health Care and Fitness for Samsung Electronics America. “This project is exciting and groundbreaking in that it will be the first to evaluate the economic benefits of virtual reality in the setting of workers compensation.”

It follows a Cedars-Sinai study, reported by Innovators Magazine last year, which showed that digital therapies could reduce pain levels by 24%.