Now, when a patient comes into the emergency department who might be a good candidate for the solution, the staff introduces the technology, selects the appropriate content on the smartphone and puts the headset and headphones on the patient.
Pianta points out that not every patient is a good candidate. “We don’t want to add anything to the situation that doesn’t have a reason to be there,” he says. “This is a medical intervention, not just entertainment, and not everybody in the emergency department is experiencing anxiety or pain. So, with help from AppliedVR and our nursing director, we’ve trained the staff to determine which patients are the best fit.”
Dr. Everett Embrey, chairman of the emergency department at Inova Mount Vernon Hospital, says the solution has been particularly useful with pediatric patients. “Children tend to be concerned about whether they’ll get stuck with a needle or whatever might happen to them, and even something like putting an IV in or cleaning a wound can make them more anxious than adults. Using the virtual reality equipment really helps relieve their stress and anxiety.”
According to Dr. Embrey, the staff in his emergency department are “very engaged” with the new technology, and he has not received any pushback. “It’s almost as simple as putting the goggles over the patients and letting them do it. It’s easy to use, so it hasn’t really been a challenge.”
AppliedVR CEO Josh Sackman gives Pianta and the Inova Mount Vernon staff much of the credit for a successful launch. “The emergency department is one of the most complex places to innovate and implement new practices into,” says Sackman. “The fact that they’re able to do that is really remarkable. It’s incredible to see the technology used in a place where it can create value but has a lot of barriers to implementation.”