Virtual Reality for Neurorehabilitation
Episode 484

Veena Somareddy, Co-Founder at Neuro Rehab VR

Virtual Reality for Neurorehabilitation

Developing virtual/augmented reality training exercises for patients with neurological disorders

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Virtual Reality for Neurorehabilitation

Episode 484

Best Way to Contact Veena:

LinkedIn

Company Website:

Neuro Rehab VR

Virtual Reality for Neurorehabilitation with Veena Somareddy, Co-Founder at Neuro Rehab VR transcript powered by Sonix—the best automated transcription service in 2020. Easily convert your audio to text with Sonix.

Virtual Reality for Neurorehabilitation with Veena Somareddy, Co-Founder at Neuro Rehab VR was automatically transcribed by Sonix with the latest audio-to-text algorithms. This transcript may contain errors. Sonix is the best way to convert your audio to text. Our automated transcription algorithms works with many of the popular audio file formats.

Welcome to the Outcomes Rocket podcast, where we inspire collaborative thinking, improved outcomes and business success with today’s most successful and inspiring health care leaders and influencers. And now your host, Saul Marquez.

Saul Marquez:
Welcome back to the podcast. Today, I have the privilege of hosting Veena Somareddy. She’s the Co-Founder at Neuro Rehab VR. She’s merging health care and technology to enhance patient care. And as we wrap our heads around virtual reality and how these new emerging technologies can help us do better and improve outcomes. She’s got a lot of interesting ideas and answers. Prior to that, she was the chief technology officer of Future Sight AR, as well as a fantastic mind in the space of medical and virtual reality. So, Veena, I’m so glad that we’re able to connect and get you on the podcast. Thanks for joining me.

Veena Somareddy:
Thank you for having me excited about it.

Saul Marquez:
Likewise. So is there anything that you want to fill into the gaps of the intro that I just laid out for folks?

Veena Somareddy:
Yeah, that sounded good. Other than that, I was also working on my PhD a couple years ago creating whatever the simulation and training and I were back on computer science and game design and development, and that’s how I kind of got into VR.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Love it. And what is your PhD and then?

Veena Somareddy:
I did not finish it, but it was in virtual reality. It says for our medical simulation and training.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. Hey, listen, when you get to it, there’s so much to be done that you’re probably just like, wow, I got to get my head out of this book and hit the road.

Veena Somareddy:
That was pretty much it. Yes.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. That’s wonderful, Veena. And so I’m interested in what inspires your work in health care. Can you tell me more a little bit about that?

Veena Somareddy:
Yeah, sure. I think like you said, by is in a lab in a university, I felt like whatever I created wasn’t really being used by somebody outside the lab. So right now, helping people that physical therapy, their cognitive training and being for them to do needs to go was incredibly satisfying and making a difference in some of these slides. And as you know how healthcare is going, like now the future of healthcare being able to contribute to that piece and the changing and the advancement of this whole industry is what really keeps me going.

Saul Marquez:
I think it’s great that at the end of the day, it is how we’re able to impact people with the things that we do.I’d love to learn a little bit more about Neuro Rehab. Tell us more about the company, the focus, and what you guys are doing to improve outcomes.

Veena Somareddy:
Yeah, sure. And they can start with a little bit of how we started then, how all of this came about. So my co-founder, Bruce Conti, his son had a brain injury about 40 years ago and he needed this robotic systems for his son for gate training. He couldn’t really find one in the metaphor pics of Dallas-Fort Worth. So we had to go to Houston, which is about five hours away, but that until we look out for them. So he ended up buying the robotic system for the clinic because he couldn’t buy it as a private individual. So he started the clinic. Now, this clinic just grew and we have about a 130 patients with more systems. And in that time he was looking at what’s the reality because I read a lot of papers, how it was used for physical therapy, cognitive training. And that’s how we met. And we started this new company inside the Logical Recovery Center, which is a clinic that sees patients with brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and also kids with cerebral palsy. To go into your question. We cleared voted 80 applications for physical and cognitive therapy and also occupational chaining. We get a lot of feedback from patients and a therapist and use our systems every day. And that’s been amazing for us as technologists to be able to create something and give it to somebody. And the user is very afraid of you. And getting that feedback has been incredible. So we’re on it’s the lean methodology on steroids.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah.

Veena Somareddy:
How we work in the healthcare.

Saul Marquez:
Wow, that’s awesome. And a very inspiring story. Not everybody could do that. You know, not everybody could have a problem and then can’t address it as a consumer. So you start a practice. I mean, an incredible. And then you team up with outstanding people to take it to the next level. It’s a very inspiring story. Tell us a little bit more about VR. You know, VR is is something that, you know, more people are hearing about. There’s more companies coming out with solutions in this space. But what is it about VR that you believe is going to transform health care? And what are you guys doing differently compared to other companies there?

Veena Somareddy:
Okay. Yeah. So what’s your reality if you want to think about it? Everybody has played games in their lives that’s a B B cell phone games or just computer games. But imagine that you’re inside the game. That’s that’s the way I would like to describe it. So this is a computer generated world and you can interact with these items in this world and you’re fully immersed. What I feel that could change in healthcare, especially for a patient and watching them use it and a normal physical therapy practice change their physical therapy right now kind of isolates your physical therapy from your cognitive therapy. But I feel like the mind and the body always work together and you kind of need to have both at the same time. And that’s something that we can do with virtual reality together. And we’ve seen that when you put our patients in VR. They kind of forget about what they cannot do because imagine somebody who had a stroke. Their life completely changed overnight night. Now they’re in a wheelchair. They can’t do normal things like brushing their teeth or dressing, and they have to go to therapy. On top of that, that life is fully changed. And after the euro, too, of doing this, they’ve come to this point. They know the things that they cannot do. And it’s kind of ingrained in them. They know their limits. But certainly you put them into this fear environment where they cannot see that action them. They see that what they are and they don’t have a reference point to what they can do at this point. And that we have seen people end up doing things they’ve never done before. They’re going from the limits of stability, moving from their mid line and center of gravity. The increases in range of motion that doing things they’ve never done before. That is amazing. You can take your brain and take that mental barriers to what you cannot do. And what I love about VR is that it hasn’t been much technological innovations when it comes to tools that therapists can have these tools just because foods.But they’re very creative and inspiring people. And you’ve been able to give this tool to them. I’ve seen them do things that have that I would have never thought about as coming from NPT background. So we are augmenting and enhancing the abilities of these physical therapists with military reality.

Saul Marquez:
I think it’s great. I just pictured myself or even a patient, you know, I pictured the limitations that you see and then you put a headset on and I and I’ve tried different ones, you know, conferences and things like that. And yeah, you sort of, like you said, trick your brain into the idea that there’s more and then you push your body to that beyond that limit that you separate yourself. I mean, that that’s a solid value prop.

Veena Somareddy:
Right. And I’ve seen that happen to me do when I.

Saul Marquez:
Have you?

Veena Somareddy:
And I’m playing VR on my own and I’m trying to lead levels. And then I when I start off, I feel like this is too hard. I can’t do this. You know, then if you couple of weeks, I mean, would you be Duflo? And so are you enhancing your abilities, too?

Saul Marquez:
So interesting. And the other thing, too, that comes to mind is a lot of us I do my best, but we live sedentary lives. We sit at work, we sit at home. And, you know, it’s it’s there’s a lot of sitting. There’s promise around VR and wellness. What are your thoughts about that?

Veena Somareddy:
Oh, I think it’s great. Like, I’m guilty of sitting around, too, in space here. And there’s a lot of travel in my world and travelling or sitting. But I think it can be an incredible, incredible tool. And I use it to clear Lord and feed savior. And that’s what I’ve been doing the last week, because I’ve not been I haven’t been to the doom in the last couple of months. Yeah. Because of all the conferences that has been happening. But I can come home and clear a couple of levels and it’s getting my body moving.

Saul Marquez:
I love the idea.

Veena Somareddy:
Rate and there’s box VR. So I use that too. If you say you have to use the right kind of motion, said you were doing good boxing. Other than the physical fitness, there’s also the cognitive far. You can play games that are more engaging for your mind, your solving puzzles and things like that. And that translates obviously to our patients to the make sure that the add cognitive elements into the physical therapy, maybe that there’s pattern matching or memory or so that there you a cognitive skills are always added for the physical therapy too.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. Now it’s a really neat thing. So, you know, the people that are listening right now obviously looking for ways to get better, do more for patients and their businesses as they start to think about how they can work with you or or incorporate the solution.Help us understand who your customers are and and how you’re you’re helping them.

Veena Somareddy:
Okay. Yeah. Right now, our customers would be clinics which are outpatient clinics and all the hospitals with invasion of health patients and departments. We work with patients who’ve had a stroke or a brain injury, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and the diagnosis keeps increasing every day because you see that it works for like a whole range of diagnosis and patient abilities, too. And that’s how we build our applications so that anybody who’s maybe an athlete who had a spinal cord injury will still be able to use it, or somebody who’s very low level brain injury and have been little movement can use it to do that good being intelligent about how we create our software.

Saul Marquez:
Gotcha. Very interesting.

Veena Somareddy:
And to work with those we send directly to outpatient clinics and the hospitals right now, they’re also coming under the home therapy solution for next year. So then they start working with home therapy organizations to take therapy where it needs to be. That is the home of the patient. And we do not sell directly to customers at the moment, but that’s something that we’re thinking about.

Saul Marquez:
Mm hmm.Very interesting. So with that clinics and hospitals, Veena, are are they incorporating it into their their typical care care pathways? And then is there are there reimbursement pathways for it or how does that work?

Veena Somareddy:
So typically what happens is if a patient comes in for an hour or two of therapy, they can use VR for 20 to 25 minutes. And it can be billed that RCP de-clawed said it’s being billed under. It’s not specifically for watching that video, but it’s the therapy that you’re doing with it.

Saul Marquez:
Got it.

Veena Somareddy:
We’ve not had any push. But eventually I would like to have a separate call for using VRD. That’s will happen in the future.But what you’ve noticed with the extent of your ad is some patients really get into it and they come in for one hour of therapy and they end up doing one during a half hour or so VR because they’re so enduring, they see the benefits in Moscow one day and more do it and they want to beat their previous course and their cardiopulmonary efficiency is increasing because now they’re staying in therapy for longer periods of time. And they see their stamina increasing too just like how you going to do for consistently, you know, you’re getting better.

Saul Marquez:
Now, I think that’s really neat, Veena, Yeah I mean, in the end, where we’re after outcomes and if you’re doing PT PT with VR, that that gets you more engaged then keeps you on the track longer. Why not?

Veena Somareddy:
Right.And you have funds and you have measurable outcomes to really do quantity to tell you how you’re getting better. And you can also look at your goals and see if you’re reaching them. And that’s happened to us, too. For us, you’ve had patients who have not been the change or environments that said they can make sure that they’re measuring and they get so good. We had to go back and add more levels because this initial 11th.

Saul Marquez:
That’s funny and awesome.

Veena Somareddy:
Yeah. You know, it is. But it’s good.

Saul Marquez:
You get to work. Get to work.And so. Wow. So, you know, the interesting thing then is that with the actual headset and the hand gear that you put on, the output is metrix. Whereas when you’re doing it without it, it’s a little more difficult to quantify. Right.

Veena Somareddy:
Exactly. And in physical therapies, do as what they can do to make sure they’re measuring because it’s like that’s also diet their insurance. But being able to measure every time we see doing physical therapy is amazing because now they have more data, more data that they can put an eye on to make sure that the genes that they would be blind or make sure that the patient is on a pat should optimal recovery. And the other thing that you can do is show a age sudden changes. Maybe there is somebody who’s been to physical therapy for a very, very long time, 5, 6 years, and they’ve almost given up when they come back. And then you are measuring something subjectively by looking at what they can do. It’s really hard. But if you’re measuring it in using numbers and quantified to decimal points, you can show these 17s to these patients and say you are making progress. But it’s really still but you should keep going and there’s a chance that you can get to a copy.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. I did. I never thought about that. But the measurement component is also something of huge value.Fascinating. Do you have a a story, a success story of maybe a way that the therapy you and your team are doing with virtual reality has helped somebody in a big way?

Veena Somareddy:
I have so many things I can talk about. One thing we had a kid who’s had a tumor removed from her brain stem and she’s really no issues. You cannot stand on her feet.If she looks down, she falls down, she corrects herself from the genes are pointing backwards, a lot of movement and shoes and she’s learning how to walk again. What is left out of this? A lot of research on how to make a non-issue should go away, be able to make a stand better. Her whole goal is to get back to school. And she loves school. And you. She’s into she’s an athlete who wants to go wall claiming she wants to do everything that she was doing before she had surgery. And I thought it was BFC. Somehow when the photos and VR, she is more stable, she’s not as wobbly. We are still trying to figure out why. And then she’s still feeling nauseous, but she is working through it because it’s just more fun and more functional and to staying in it for longer amounts of time and then using VR. And if this was able to get into other situations that happen because he was putting on an intensive therapy, she able to like go back to school.

Saul Marquez:
Wow. That’s great. That’s a wonderful story. And and they enjoy it. Right. So if I care if you want to go in yourself or if your kid gosh, you know, if I had to put my son through something and I see that he’s enjoying it versus dreading it, that’s exciting. And it’s even more interesting.

Veena Somareddy:
Right. and her parents also brought her to the VR system for home so she can continue doing this.

Saul Marquez:
I love it.

Veena Somareddy:
At home, too. Yeah.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. Big promise here, folks. Think about what you could do with virtual reality. Physical therapy, Neuro rehabilitation, The work that Veena and the team at Neuro Rehab VR is super interesting. Definitely Check them out. We’ll include their Web site in the show notes and Outcomes Rocket.Health and the Search Bar type in Veena V e e n a. You’ll see all that other links in the show, notes. Veena, what are you most proud of in your career thus far?

Veena Somareddy:
I think billing this company as an immigrant just 5 years ago, I was Nord stated that I could even start a company. But being able to do that. Being able to make impact in a potential impact that we have. This company is changing life and for millions of people. And that’s what I’m proud of. And it’s really great to be in to do what you always wanted to.

Saul Marquez:
Yeah. That’s awesome. Congratulations on that.

Veena Somareddy:
Thank you.

Saul Marquez:
And what would you say is your most proud business accomplishment thus far?

Veena Somareddy:
I think it’s the small things. It’s small things when you have a patient come in and then they are they’ve given up. But then they see these small changes that they’re able to do and they’re able to do things. And they were done before because we take a lead you enjoyed back to them. This is what you actually capable of. That kind of gives them hope. And then there’s a point where, you know, it keeps increasing, that hope keeps increasing, and it’s not there. It’s like getting to a point where they are able to do things like brushing their teeth, own going to the grocery store or picking things off a shirt. That has not happened for years. And that’s what is keeps us going, keeps us inspired and that then satisfied about that.

Saul Marquez:
That’s definitely great. And how about one of your biggest setbacks that you’ve experienced?

Veena Somareddy:
Well, as one of the learnings that you pulled out of that, I think when you try to build a company that is like said bags and a rollercoaster ride almost every day, ups and downs, like I go through so many emotions in the day. Sometimes I think the biggest setbacks was in the beginning that we didn’t really understand how to build VR for somebody who’s does not have the same abilities as a healthy person. When I created the first game, it was when I tried it out. It worked for me, it didn’t work for a patient. And then I been back and fixed it and then it worked for one page and then worked for the next one. That was our biggest learning and also a setback. They realized the way the body works for some means at a stroke or a brain injury is very different from how by the functionalities that I have in brain. Big key learning then that kind of set the ground to how we started to build our apps.

Saul Marquez:
And so that became maybe the foundation for how you built the apps and the Zite air conditioned specific.

Veena Somareddy:
Right. and functionality and functionality.

Saul Marquez:
and functionality. Ok, very interesting. And I’m sure it was just like a total gut punch when you built it and then built it again and it just didn’t work. I mean, what kept you in the game? Veena.

Veena Somareddy:
All always, I mean, the feedback, right. It’s always good to know what’s not working. Then everybody be telling you, you know, this is great. This works. The feedback. Negative feedback or, you know, constantly criticism and always asking them what’s missing. Tell us what’s missing and we’ve sent it for you. The therapist started to have more ideas. The Atlanta started using VRD. They kept telling us, know what we can build and what they really need and what it’s not filling the gap outside of VR. I get those grand opportunities that we have and I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface as to what we can do with this technology because it’s still in the early stages. There’s the graphics has gotten better that we can start adding A.I. into it. There’s so much we can do and I feel like the opportunities would keep us excited about it and the possibilities.

Saul Marquez:
I love it. That’s great. Yeah. You know, it’s a combination of the excitement of the future, but also the feedback that you’re like, OK, well, I’m getting the data points that I need to keep building this in a way that it’s going to work.

Veena Somareddy:
Right. Exactly.

Saul Marquez:
So if you could have a lunch with anybody, Vener, how would it be?

Veena Somareddy:
Many people. So I’m going to try to keep it down to a couple. I think I started Magdalena. Yes. Said she’s an immigrant to Turkey, but she’s on the first board members of Salesforce and she also loves to call power up. That’s an incredible story. And this is one of my role models. And if I had one more these in their picture. He is the CEO of Google right now, and he started from a small town in India. And now he’s the CEO. So it’s an incredible Right. is what he’s done. And all these being a fan of longlist to all of these people.

Saul Marquez:
Love it. And what was the name of the first lady?

Veena Somareddy:
Magdalena Yesil.

Saul Marquez:
Magdalena Yesil, OK. And was the book Power Up?

Veena Somareddy:
Yes.

Saul Marquez:
Awesome. There’s like that one for everybody. Check it out. And yeah, that would be a nice lunch. Let’s get all three of them. Let’s sit down and thought real.

Veena Somareddy:
That would be great. It’s a dream come true.

Saul Marquez:
AlRight. Dallas Severe listening to this.Magdalena and Ilan, we’ll see you there. What’s your number one health habit?

Veena Somareddy:
Oh, I’m not sure if I have one bird. I’ve been trying to I’ve been waking up and drinking windy the last couple of weeks with some lemonade, which is really good for the immune system. And I’m not really into coffee, but I did start to drink at a point, but it didn’t really help me. So I like trying to. Not any more. But little green tree.

Saul Marquez:
Love it.Love it. Little green tea, little lemon. Yes. Get some alkalinity going.

Veena Somareddy:
Exactly.

Saul Marquez:
That’s great. What’s the best advice you ever received?

Veena Somareddy:
Oh, wow. Let’s see. I think think about this now. I receive a lot of good advice, I think, to focus and not do too much, because when you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve done so many things that are trying to get your attention. And one of my mentors is always about. He gave me this four quadrants that you need to be in the second quarter and where you’re running everything. But you’re also working on healthy habits like exercising and everything. And the tone in the photo, you get an email and you have to you feel like you have to reply to it right now. And sometimes it’s not something that’s important. So focusing on doing things that have a high impact so that you have time for yourself to in the end, because entrepreneurs end up working on their company and never having time for themselves.

Saul Marquez:
It’s a great, great piece of advice there. Veena, appreciate that. Wow, incredible work that you guys are doing. That connection between the mind and the body is something we should all walk away with. The data that’s pouring out of these VR systems, enabling value based care and data informed physical therapy. Incredible stuff here, Veena. Appreciate your time. If you can just leave us with with the closing thought and then the best place where the listeners could learn more about you and the company.

Veena Somareddy:
Ok. Yeah, sure. I think for us, we’ll work with patients and a therapist. We are we have a mission now. We want to bring down costs of therapy for and make it more efficient and faster for everybody and also within the reach of everyone who needs therapy, regardless of if they have insurance or not. And we cannot do this alone. We need your everybody’s help. The people who are listening to this board, the payers, the hospitals, the therapist and onto the patients that are out there, take a chance on this new technology.Before you dismiss it, as it can make or not worth your time, it would be if you try it out and give it a chance. And to contact those Linkedin I’m on, Linkedin so is the company on Twitter and that site is. You already RehabVR.com.

Saul Marquez:
Outstanding Veena. Really appreciate it. It’s been a great episode. I’ve learned a lot. Then another that the listeners have to. So wishing you guys success. And thanks again for jumping on.

Veena Somareddy:
Yeah. Thank you for having me. This is fun.

Thanks for listening to the Outcomes Rocket podcast. Be sure to visit us on the web at www.outcomesrocket.com for the show notes, resources, inspiration and so much more.

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