VR to help remove fear of needles


Monday, 16 October, 2023

VR to help remove fear of needles

Investment company Breakthrough Victoria is investing in virtual reality technology that will reduce a patient’s pain, stress and anxiety when having common medical procedures, such as blood tests, vaccinations and medical imaging.

Smileyscope, founded in 2019 by Australian doctors Dr Evelyn Chan and Dr Paul Long, has developed a digital headset that transforms potentially stressful environments, such as hospitals and clinics, into relaxing virtual locations.

Real-world sensations are reframed in the virtual reality world in a supportive and engaging way, improving healthcare experiences and outcomes for patients and clinicians.

The virtual reality experience looks to reduce a child’s pain by up to 60% and reduce the need for restraint by 48% during needle treatments, such as blood tests and intravenous cannulation.

Using virtual reality technology to make needle procedures less scary for children, procedures are completed fast and without the need for sedation or rescheduling appointments.

“Our technology transforms a patient’s healthcare experience from what can be stressful and drawn out to one that is quick, easy and fear-free, in addition to saving hospital time and resources,” Smileyscope co-founder and CEO Dr Evelyn Chan, said.

“This Breakthrough Victoria investment will allow us to further unlock market opportunities in Victoria and internationally, resulting in more people benefitting from Smileyscope’s revolutionary technology.”

Breakthrough Victoria’s investment will support Smileyscope to expand sales of its existing products into hospitals and community health services around Australia and internationally, as well as expand its range of medical technology devices to help people for a broader range of conditions.

Image credit: iStock.com/BrianAJackson

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