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One-Touch VR Bringing Relief to Kids in Hospitals

Virtual Reality can help kids in hospitals get better treatment outcomes while reducing their pain and anxiety during, before and after procedures. How do we bring these benefits to hospitals worldwide?
November 26, 2021
2
min read

A team of University of Southern California physicians recently published "Effect of an Immersive Virtual Reality Intervention on Pain and Anxiety Associated With Peripheral Intravenous Catheter Placement in the Pediatric Setting" finding, consistent with earlier research, that "a [Virtual Reality] intervention" administered five minutes before and during an intravenous catheter procedure lessens pain and anxiety in kids.

Put more simply, VR helps kids in hospitals feel better, which is great news. Unfortunately, today's VR is not up to the task of delivering these real benefits. Designed for games and social interaction, the technology takes time to set up and master.

Kids in hospitals experiencing pain or anxiety need immediate – or what I think of as "one minute to relief" – Virtual Reality.

How do we get from today's VR to "one minute to relief" VR? Three changes must be made:

  • Make VR easier for patients. While gamers, influencers, and early adopters will endure the barriers to today's VR – such as straps, controls, onboarding screens, instruction – a child in a hospital bed shouldn't have to. Accessing VR to relieve pain and anxiety must be as simple as lifting a headset to the eyes.
  • Make VR easier for practitioners. Caregivers are seriously overburdened. Adding more to their plates is no way to gain acceptance. Therefore, VR in healthcare should be no- or low-touch for caregivers. The benefits of VR cannot be perceived to be outweighed by the costs of the technology if it is to be adopted in busy healthcare scenarios.
  • Make content easy. Leveraging VR as a regular treatment will fail if content falls short. Producers need incentives to create VR, appropriate for bedside, that is robust, engaging, and constantly being updated. They need a place to distribute where users can discover and select their favorite content quickly and even automatically by subscription.

Consider the future: A child patient feels uneasy in the hospital, waiting for a procedure or undergoing one. The child reaches for a VR headset, picks a favorite VR program or scene, raises the headset to their eyes, and becomes immersed immediately. No instruction or practitioner needed. No more than one minute to relief.

That's One-Touch VR for healthcare.

Dave Elchoness

Dave Elchoness

Head of Eden USA

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