Innovative Pain Solutions for Children
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Innovative pain solutions for children
Calgary, AB – One of the reasons children don’t get vaccinated is due to the fear and anxiety associated with the pain involved in the procedure. Research being done at the University of Calgary has a method shown to increase vaccination rates by 10%. This method is a child-friendly robot called MEDi®, developed by Dr. Tanya Beran and her company, RxRobots.
“RxRobots is a company that builds applications for robots to interact with children while they are having painful medical procedures done, such as vaccinations and blood tests,” says Beran. “And these applications tell MEDi® what to say and do in order to distract children from the needle, the bandage, whatever is involved in the procedure. MEDi® also coaches them, using the cognitive behaviour interventions that we know from research work.”
“Hospitals, even bright and friendly hospitals like this one, can put children on edge, especially if they are here for a procedure that might involve some discomfort,” says Margaret Fullerton, VP, Alberta Children’s Hospital. “We’ve been testing the MEDi® robots here for almost three years and it has become quite clear that this technology significantly improves the health care experience for our young patients and their parents and caregivers. The Alberta Children’s Hospital is fortunate to have access to the first robots in Canada specifically programmed to help children manage painful or stressful medical procedures. It’s a useful – and very cool – technology.”
The applications for MEDi® have many possibilities, three areas of application have been identified: Pain Coach, Educator, and Companion. To date randomized clinical trials have been conducted for blood tests and vaccinations.
Beran has worked with the Entrepreneurial Development team at Innovate Calgary to develop a business model and attract international support through extensive pitch coaching. She has received acclaim at the W21C Innovation Academy and was invited to present in Geneva at World Innovation Day for Innovation in Health where she won third prize.
Innovate Calgary Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Mark Williams serves as the President and CEO for RxRobots.
“We recently attended CES 2015 where RxRobots made it into the Business Analyst top ten,” says Williams. “We have big plans for this company. We are currently working to bring MEDI® to the United States but it won’t stop there. MEDi® speaks 20 languages and can be programmed to work in many cultures.”
MEDi® currently resides at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. They are using four robots which will serve as a support for the child patient, ensuring a more positive experience.