A true game changer: Nurse practitioner invents video game to calm young surgery patients
The gaming app is called EZ Induction and transforms a scary anesthesia mask into a fun game controller.
The last thing a child might see before surgery is a scary anesthesia mask. To help calm that fear, Cincinnati Children's Hospital nurse practitioner Abby Hess has invented a breathing-controlled video game. It's working so well, the hospital is commercializing it.
"Many young patients become anxious when an anesthesia mask is placed over their face in the operating room," says Hess. The researcher in the Department of Anesthesia explains the game features cartoon animals that children move around by breathing into a mask.
Pediatric patients start practicing while still in pre-op. "The game shifts the focus from something scary to something that's calming and fun," she says.
A breathing tube is connected to a tablet. Eventually the child is offered the opportunity to play "the final level" when they go back into the operating room.
Little Seed Calming Technologies is commercializing the product. "Dr. Hess is a compassionate, driven and innovative problem-solver," CEO Jeff Penka says. "She has infused that patient-focused spirit and energy into the collaboration."
Hess collaborated with the Cincinnati Children's Innovation Ventures team and the Ohio Third Frontier Technology Validation and Start-up Fund.