V-CarE—A Conceptual Design Model for Providing COVID-19 Pandemic Awareness: Proposal for a Virtual Reality Design Approach to Facilitate People With Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness

Syed Fawad M. Zaidi, Niusha Shafiabady, Shereen Afifi, Justin Beilby

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Background: Virtual reality (VR) technology has been solidifying its ground since its existence, where engagement and a sense of presence are key. The contemporary field of development has captured the attention of researchers due to its flexibility and compatibility attributes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, several research outputs have shown promising prospects of continuing research in the field of VR design and development—in health sciences including learning and training. 

Objective: In this paper, we aim to propose a conceptual development model named V-CarE (Virtual Care Experience) that can facilitate the understanding of pandemics when it comes to a crisis, taking precautionary measures where needed, and getting used to certain actions for preventing pandemic spread through habituation. Moreover, this conceptual model is useful to expand the development strategy to incorporate different types of users and technological aid as per need and requirement. 

Methods: For a detailed understanding of the proposed model, we have developed a novel design strategy to bring awareness to the user about the current COVID-19 pandemic. VR research in health sciences has shown that with appropriate management and development, VR technology can efficiently support people with health issues and special needs, which motivated our attempts to explore the possibility of employing our proposed model to treat Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD)—a persistent nonvertiginous dizziness that could last for 3 months or more. The purpose of including patients with PPPD is to get them engaged in the learning experience and to make them comfortable with VR. We believe this confidence and habituation would help them get engaged with VR for treatment (dizziness alleviation) while practicing the preventive measures during the pandemic in an interactive environment without actually facing any pandemic directly. Subsequently, for advanced development using the V-CarE model, we have briefly discussed that even contemporary technology like internet of things (IoT) for handling devices, can be incorporated without disrupting the complete 3D-immersive experience.

Results: In our discussion, we have shown that the proposed model represents a significant step toward the accessibility of VR technology by creating a pathway toward awareness of pandemics and, also, an effective care strategy for PPPD people. Moreover, by introducing advanced technology, we will only further enhance the development for wider accessibility of VR technology while keeping the core purpose of the development intact. 

Conclusions: V-CarE–based developed VR projects are designed with all the core elements of health sciences, technology, and training making it accessible and engaging for the users and improving their lifestyle by safely experiencing the unknown. We suggest that with further design-based research, the proposed V-CarE model has the potential to be a valuable tool connecting different fields to wider communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere38369
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJMIR Research Protocols
Early online date23 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 2023


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