SCAN Health Plan Taps the Power of Virtual Reality to Bolster Empathy Around the Human Experience of Aging

Date Posted: 11/14/2019

Immersive Experience Unites Innovative Technology and Senior Sensitivity Training Program to Put Audiences in the Shoes of Aging Adults

LONG BEACH, Calif.—Nov. 14, 2019—SCAN Health Plan®, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans, today introduced Trading Ages® Virtual Reality (TAVR), the evolution of the organization’s successful Trading Ages senior sensitivity training program. Tapping expertise honed over more than 40 years of helping seniors remain healthy and independent, SCAN leverages virtual reality technology to bring to light the unique physical, emotional and social challenges of growing older. 

“The aging experience is one that we all have in common, yet it is highly misunderstood. As the population of older adults grows significantly in coming years it is vitally important for communities and organizations, as well as family members, to have a better understanding of the challenges seniors face,” said Dr. Romilla Batra, chief medical officer of SCAN Health Plan. “Trading Ages Virtual Reality enables us to experience the physical and emotional challenges of aging, providing the empathy and insight needed to better support older adults.” 

According to the Population Reference Bureau, the number of Americans 65-years and older is projected to double to 95 million by 2060. As leading experts in the field of aging for over four decades, SCAN understands the need for communities and organizations to equip themselves with the knowledge, skills, and insight to serve this population with creativity and compassion.

Built upon the success of the original version of Trading Ages, which has been experienced by a wide range of audiences, including city officials, students, and medical providers, SCAN has elevated the program with virtual reality. Those who experience TAVR are immersed in a combination of audio and visual effects that simulate physical and emotional challenges. The user is guided through a series of scenarios that mirror what it is like to live with hearing loss or macular degeneration, and how it feels to have a spouse with dementia. These simulated encounters are incorporated into the larger educational session that is delivered in a group setting, giving participants a real sense of the physical, social and emotional aspects of aging.

“When presented with the opportunity to partner with SCAN and develop the technology for TAVR, we were excited to work on such an impactful project,” said Melissa Tait, managing director at Primacy, the award-winning digital experience agency. “We all have loved ones who are growing older and don’t necessarily realize the hardships they face as they age. Virtual reality has been shown to improve retention and recall and is suitable for different learning styles—not to mention the element of fun it brings to the instruction.”

SCAN’s mission of keeping seniors healthy and independent, coupled with Primacy’s recognized expertise in creating compelling digital experiences, have given rise to a singular and authentic learning opportunity. This program pioneers a new era of sensitivity training, offering new insights and fresh perspectives and is available to individuals, businesses, organizations and government entities—anyone who interacts with seniors regularly.

“To see this vision come to life and provide new tools to help families and communities gain a new-found appreciation for the struggles many seniors face is extremely rewarding,” said Josh Goode, chief information officer of SCAN Health Plan. “Our ability to provide a deeply moving experience and understanding in a short amount of time allows those who experience TAVR to make changes that ultimately impact our communities as a whole.”

About Primacy
Primacy is a digital experience agency that delivers engaging experiences that have meaningful impact and measurable results. Primacy offers a full breadth of services including user experience, marketing, technology, branding, media planning and buying, strategy, accessibility, and cybersecurity to a diverse range of clients across industries including consumer, financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, and higher education. The company is headquartered in West Palm Beach, with offices in New York City, Boston, and Hartford. To find out more, visit www.theprimacy.com

About SCAN Health Plan
SCAN Health Plan is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans, serving more than 200,000 members in California. Since its founding in 1977, SCAN has been a mission-driven organization dedicated to keeping seniors healthy and independent. Independence at Home, a SCAN community service, provides vitally needed services and support to seniors and their caregivers. SCAN also offers education programs, community funding, volunteer opportunities and other community services throughout our California service area. To learn more, visit scanhealthplan.com or facebook.com/scanhealthplan or follow us on Twitter @scanhealthplan

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Media Contact:
Havas Formula
Lindsay Denietolis 619-234-0345
scanhealth@havasformula.com