Virtual reality used to improve care experience for pediatric patients during infusions

Pediatric hemophilia patients at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, are participating in a pilot study to test a new virtual reality experience designed to engage children in an immersive virtual environment while they endure painful needle sticks during infusions.

The game, called Voxel Bay, was designed by experts from Nationwide Children's and students from The Ohio State University's Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design in Columbus. The game engages patients in an environment full of penguins, pirates and hermit crabs. The National Hemophilia Foundation provided a grant to fund the pilot study.

"I work with pediatric patients with bleeding disorders and know all too well the fears and anxiety that they and their families experience related to frequent needle sticks," said Amy Dunn, MD, director of Hematology at Nationwide Children's. "I took this problem to our incredible design team and asked them to help our hemophilia team create a solution that would be cost-effective, friendly, safe, engaging for children of any age and help with adherence to treatments ultimately leading to better outcomes ... The feedback we've gotten so far has been really positive."

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