About this event

  • Date and time Wed 13 Sep 2023 from 8:30am to 6:00pm
  • Location Royal Society of Medicine
  • Organised by Digital Health

In the future metaverse, the NHS could have a virtual workforce that is much larger than today’s real workforce, with virtual clinicians that can help to diagnose and treat patients on a routine basis. Virtual and Augmented Reality (VR/AR) headsets (collectively termed Extended Reality or XR) have the potential to deliver more effective mental health and physical therapies to more patients and more cost-effectively than conventional methods. Furthermore, immersive technologies can improve engagement, achieve better outcomes, and help patients to overcome anxiety and acute or chronic pain conditions. In addition, XR can be used in place of traditional training to reduce costs and improve practitioners’ procedural and soft skills. 

This conference will explore current applications of immersive technologies to illustrate their potential impact across health and social care. VR and AR headsets will be used, as well as the conventional laptop, mobile devices and other biosensors, to cover the nature of virtual experiences.

We will review and showcase key application areas, including mental health and wellbeing, physiotherapy and rehabilitation, pain management, surgical preparation and planning, clinical skills training and patient education. 

  • The nature and value of immersive experiences delivered using conventional computer equipment, and the potential of gateway technologies such as virtual reality headsets and augmented reality glasses
  • The nature and value of Extended Reality (XR) including Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and the so-called Metaverse
  • The current best practice and the range of validated applications of these technologies to health and social care

Follow us on:


We would like to thank our sponsors apoQlar, Bodyswaps, ExR Solutions, NeuroVirt, Rescape, Strolll Neurotechnology, SyncVR Medical UK and VRiMS for their support of this event. Please note that the main scientific programme and content has not been influenced in any way by the sponsors.

Key speakers

Albert "Skip" Rizzo

Albert "Skip" Rizzo, PhD

Director, Medical VR, University of Southern California

Speaker's biography

Albert “Skip” Rizzo is a Clinical and Neuro- Psychologist, and Director of the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies Medical VR Lab. He is also a research professor in both the USC Dept. of Psychiatry and in the School of Gerontology. Skip conducts research on the design, development and evaluation of VR systems targeting the areas of clinical assessment, treatment and rehabilitation.  


In the psychological domain, he has directed the development/implementation of the Virtual Iraq/Afghanistan VR exposure therapy system for combat-related PTSD and is involved in translating these simulation assets for PTSD assessment and prevention (stress resilience). His cognitive work has addressed the use of VR applications to test and train cognitive functioning. In the motor domain, he develops VR game-based applications to promote rehabilitation in persons with CNS dysfunction (e.g., stroke and TBI). He is also involved in the creation of intelligent virtual human patients for clinical training and for creating online virtual human healthcare guides for breaking down barriers to care in psychological health and TBI.  


In 2010, he received the American Psychological Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Practice of Trauma Psychology for his R&D work on VR exposure therapy for PTS and in 2015, he received the Society for Brain Mapping and Therapeutics “Pioneer in Medicine” award. He received the 2019 American Psychological Association Society for Military Psychology Presidential Citation for his trauma work and was recently awarded the 2020 International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Innovation Award. In his spare time, he plays rugby, listens to music, rides his motorcycle and thinks about new ways that VR can have a positive impact on clinical care by dragging the field of psychology, kickin’ and screamin’, into the 21st Century.

Neil Ralph

Dr Neil Ralph

Head, Technology Enhanced Learning, Health Education England

Speaker's biography

Dr Neil Ralph is the Head of Technology Enhanced Learning at Health Education England (HEE TEL), leading a national function within the NHS that aims to maximise the impact of learning technologies and simulation based education in how we train and educate the health and care workforce. The HEE TEL team works with local, regional and national system partners to leverage these approaches in order to meet their workforce learning needs; underpinned by evidence-based approaches. The team supports access to learning technologies through its capacity to develop and deliver learning at scale via its national digital learning services; elearning for healthcare, Digital Learning Solutions and the Learning Hub. It also seeks to expand and enhance the adoption of XR and other immersive technologies through a range of approaches, alongside support for the educational workforce through its faculty programmes and enhancing the learning environment through its TEL maturity assessment. Neil is also a practicing clinical psychologist and academic lecturer.

Daniel Ballin

Daniel Ballin

Chief Executive, Ideas Crucible

Speaker's biography

As Chief Executive of Ideas Crucible, Dan advisors and secures investment capital for technology start-ups and scale-up working leading venture capitalist and angel investors, with a particular focus in health, VR, AI, and payments. As a former entrepreneur he has had four start-ups two of which were exited through acquisition.
A large part of his career was focused on sourcing innovative tech start-ups and scaleups from around the world and launching multimillion new business ventures for brands including Coca-Cola, Goldman Sachs, Novartis, BT, and IAG.
He was a Chief Information Officer for BT Group level, where he led innovations from idea into launch across all market facing divisions, including a £25M health business, as well as launching their mobile business in Spain and Italy.
He is the long-standing Editor-in-Chief of Virtual Reality (Springer Nature) and studied a Doctorate in the application of artificial intelligence to virtual environments. A Charted Engineer, inventor on 9 patents, and has lectured and published widely.
He is Non-Executive for a Property Tech a Cyber Security company, and board advisor to a Sportech and Fintech. He also advisors several venture capital funds.


View the programme

Session 1

Session Chair: Mr Loy Lobo, Immediate Past President, Digital Health Section, Royal Society of Medicine

Registration, tea and coffee
Welcome and introduction

Mr Loy Lobo, Immediate Past President, Digital Health Council, Royal Society of Medicine

Opening keynote: A hitchhiker’s guide to the health and care metaverse

Daniel Ballin, Chief ExecutiveIdeas Crucible 

Questions and answers
Heads in headsets: Defining a new reality in health care delivery and experience

Chair: Dr Kenneth Kizer, Director, Institute for Population Health Improvement, University of California Davis, USA

Dr Anne Bailey, VA Immersive Lead, Department of Veterans Affairs, USA, and Dr Susan Kirsh, Deputy Assistant Under Secretary for Health for Discovery, Education and Affiliate Networks, Department of Veterans Affairs, USA

Tea and coffee break, and showcase

Session 2: Rehabilitation and therapies

Session Chair: Prof Rory J O'Connor, Charterhouse Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine, Academic Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Leeds

Reality DTx® for rehabilitation for adults with Parkinson’s Disease

Caroline Gill, Research Physiotherapist, University of Leeds

Developing a pathway for clinical testing and evaluation of NeuroVirt for upper limb rehabilitation after stroke: Working with service users, industry, healthcare providers and academics

Dr Kathryn Mares, Associate Professor in Physiotherapy, Head of Department Allied Health Professions, Senior Fellow Higher Education Academy, University of East Anglia

Pulmonary rehab for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

Professor Timothy Jung, Chair Professor of Extended Reality, Manchester Metropolitan University

Question and answers
NHS strategy and practical support for immersive technologies

Dr Neil Ralph, Head, Technology Enhanced Learning, Health Education England


Session 3: Beyond the operating theatre

Session Chair: Mr David Taylor, Council Member, Digital Health Section, Royal Society of Medicine

Cognitive surgery: Data driven computer vision for improved surgical outcomes

Dr James Kinross, Senior Lecturer in Colorectal Surgery and Consultant Surgeon, Imperial College London 

Mixed reality technology in training and pre-hospital medicine

Miss Ekpemi Irune, Consultant Laryngolgy, Head and Neck, and Thyroid Surgeon, Addenbrooke's Hopsital, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

The scientific evaluation of extended reality in medicine and surgery and its global health implications

Professor Jagtar Dhanda, Professor of Extended Reality in Medicine and Surgery, Professor of Surgery and Consultant Maxillofacial-Head and Neck Surgeon, Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Kingston University London

Immersive emergency tracheostomy training: A multi-user learning experience

Mr Kevin Moss, CEO, Rescape

Question and answers
Integrating the patient perspective into clinical education

Dr Jordan Tsigarides, NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow and Virtual Reality Lead for Postgraduate Education, Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Tea and coffee break, and showcase

Session 4

Chair: Dr Tim Ringrose, President, Digital Health Section Royal Society of Medicine

Virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI) for enhancing doctor-patient communication skills: A case study by the Royal Society of Medicine

Mr Christophe Mallet, CEO and Co-Founder, Bodyswaps

Mixed Reality in Healthcare

Mr Joe Varrasso, Mixed Reality Mentor and Founding Member, Holomedicine Association

Closing keynote: Clinical Virtual-Reality (VR) and the metaverse: A brief review of the future!

Albert ‘Skip’ Rizzo, Clinical Psychologist and Director of Medical Virtual Reality, University of Southern California, USA

Closing remarks

Mrs Julia Manning, President Elect, Digital Health Section, Royal Society of Medicine

Close of meeting
Drinks reception and showcase


Royal Society of Medicine, 1 Wimpole St, Marylebone, London, W1G 0AE, United Kingdom


Registration for this event will close on 12 September 2023 at 1:00am (BST). Late registrations will not be accepted. 

The agenda is subject to change at any time  

All views expressed at this event are of the speakers themselves and not of the Royal Society of Medicine, nor the speaker's organisations. 

We are only able to share presentations that we have received permission to share. This is at the presenter and the RSM’s discretion. 

This event will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be distributed in future on various internet channels.