Children with hemophilia commonly receive intravenous infusion of clotting factor as their sole treatment, and it requires patients to be infused with the medication, using a needle. Patients need to undergo this treatment starting from their first diagnosis throughout the rest of their lives.
VR adoption at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Ohio began with one very common issue: kids are often afraid of needles. In the Nationwide Children’s hemophilia clinic this can be a significant barrier to a positive care experience.
Parents are not immune to feelings of dread leading up to clinic visits, either. It can be devastating for a parent to know that his child has a phobia of the very treatment necessary to maintain that child’s health. This level of anxiety on parents’ ends further aggravates the negative feelings their children are already feeling.
Nurses also feel the impacts of needle phobia. These clinicians are on the frontlines of nearly all patient encounters, and can get worn down by constantly delivering a terrifying procedure to children.
But when the care team can distract the patient – in this case, by using VR – it allows them to take the care encounter back into their hands and drive a better experience.
Incorporating VR into the patient encounter ‘takes them out of what is normally a stressful situation and puts them into a fun world.’ The VR used in the clinic incorporates novel features that involve everyone in the room as an active participant in the VR experience. Instead of being a solo experience, the VR becomes a group activity, helping to bring parents and nurses into the child’s world.
‘This type of VR – the type that puts patients in a new, more enjoyable experience – is the future of VR in healthcare. While there are numerous purposes for VR being floated, including using it for data visualization and surgical planning, using VR to place patients in an enjoyable reality is leading the way.’
At Wavelength we are excited to see the adoption of VR technology and to finally witness a new era where the mind-body connection is regarded as a vital component in the treatment of patients. Our thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes can positively or negatively affect our biological functioning. VR is proving it can change your emotional state which, in turn, will help change your physical state. The trick will be figuring out what works best.