Press Release: 07.12.2019

Revolutionizing Patient Care Through Virtual Reality

McCarthy partners with Loma Linda University Health to deliver unmatched patient experience.  

McCarthy construction worker with wagon on jobsite

McCarthy is proud to collaborate with Loma Linda University Health (LLUH) to introduce virtual reality-based therapy as a progressive medical treatment for the world-renowned Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH). Leveraging state-of-the-art technology, combined with the psychological expertise of Dr. Kiti Randall, Director of Psychological Services for LLU Department of Pediatrics, and her colleagues, McCarthy has pioneered a safe and kid-friendly virtual therapy session to help children reduce anxiety as a healing technique.

McCarthy’s deep history with LLUH began in the early 1980s. Since then, McCarthy has served as the university’s lead builder through modernizations and transitions into state-of-the-art delivery methods, such as the proton beam therapy in 1988 and currently, the 1 million square-foot replacement hospital tower scheduled for completion in 2020.

Recognizing the primary construction site for the replacement tower would be adjacent to the Children’s Hospital, it was to be expected that an immense project of this magnitude could potentially yield both visual and auditory disruptions to the patients. Due to this realization, McCarthy enlisted Dr. Randall for a separate venture to help give the children virtual access into the construction site. 

Virtual reality (VR) therapy has been demonstrated to increase positive emotions and decrease negative emotions in pediatric patients. Research has shown it to be an effective tool to help with treatment or reduction of anxiety and pain. Therapeutic tools such as VR provoke dissociation from pain and distress, and, in turn, provide patients with an escape. This is done by means of engagement in alternate, pleasant reality/experience. VR has been used in both adult and children populations, with research demonstrating its effectiveness via distraction to improve pain response in medical procedures.

Dr. Randall said that “this project will be using VR as a therapeutic tool. However, it will be a unique application, given that the VR videos will be related to the construction site at the hospital."

In addition to being a distraction, the virtual therapy will also be an opportunity for children to learn what is happening outside their windows. "This will add an extra element of helping children undergoing treatment to ‘understand the noise,’” said Dr. Randall, who also explained the phenomenon “when noise becomes sound" can result in a better healing process and less irritability.

"This implementation of VR will allow the child to explore ‘outside’ of the confines of their room to ‘join’ in with the workers outside their window,"' Dr. Randall said. "This is an exciting opportunity which McCarthy has made possible. I am impressed with the passion and expertise of the McCarthy team to make the construction a more positive experience and essentially ‘invite’ the children to participate in what is going on during the construction process."'

McCarthy has been developing its expertise with virtual reality since 2010. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that the possibility of this specific therapy program began to emerge. A convergence of three technological advancements was the catalyst for the initiative — 360-degree cameras, which combined with the Oculus Rift and smaller, more portable graphics cards, have allowed McCarthy to create an immersive virtual environment of the construction site. These three components are the foundation of the virtual therapy program, enabling McCarthy to capture all the excitement of the construction project and bring the immersive experience to a child’s room.  

To learn more about McCarthy and its Virtual Design and Construction efforts, please visit For additional insight into the construction project taking place at LLUH, please reach out to

About McCarthy

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the oldest privately held national construction company in the country – with more than 150 years spent collaborating with partners to solve complex building challenges on behalf of its clients. With an unrelenting focus on safety and a comprehensive quality program that span all phases of every project, McCarthy utilizes industry-leading design phase and construction techniques combined with value-add technology to maximize outcomes. Repeatedly honored as a Best Place to Work and Healthiest Employer, McCarthy is ranked the 12th largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2019). With approximately 1,800 salaried employees and offices in St. Louis, Atlanta; Collinsville, Ill.; Kansas City, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Denver; Dallas, Houston; San Diego, Newport Beach, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, Calif. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned. More information about the company is available online at or by following the company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+.

About Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital - LLUCH

The Children’s Hospital is the only dedicated pediatric hospital in the vast geographic region of San Bernardino, Riverside, Inyo and Mono counties in Southern California. With 348 beds dedicated just for kids, one of the largest Neonatal Intensive Care Units in the country and more than 100,000 children who come each year, LLUCH is a major pediatric teaching facility, known worldwide as the pioneer of neonatal heart transplantation. LLUCH is part of Loma Linda University Health – the umbrella organization encompassing Loma Linda University’s eight professional schools, Loma Linda University Medical Center’s six hospitals and more than 900 faculty physicians located across the Inland Empire in Southern California. A Seventh-day Adventist organization, Loma Linda University Health is a faith-based health system with a mission “to continue the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus Christ.”


McCarthy and LLUCH would like to thank 360Fly and Lenovo for donating cameras and computers to support in these efforts. The immense dedication all groups involved have demonstrated throughout the process is a testament to the value the program will bring to the patients at Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital over the next several years.

sign up to receive insights

Sign up to receive McCarthy Insights