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Smileyscope partners with nonprofit to increase access to its pain-reducing VR headset

The partnership will give hospitals serving BIPOC and low-income patients free access to the device.
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Smileyscope

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Smileyscope, a digital therapeutics company that created a virtual reality (VR) headset to help kids get through medical procedures, has partnered with pediatric nonprofit Invincikids to expand access to pain management technologies for underserved populations across the US.

Typically, the Smileyscope device costs hospitals $3,000–$5,000 for an annual software license fee. Through the partnership, announced on August 29, Invicikids will distribute the Smileyscope device free of charge to hospitals and clinics that serve BIPOC and low-income populations, according to Smileyscope.

“VR technologies can truly transform the way children, families, and healthcare providers experience medical procedures,” Smileyscope CEO Evelyn Chan said in a statement. “Through this partnership with Invincikids, more children will now have access to technology that eases their pain and anxiety, allowing them to have better healthcare experiences.”

Invincikids works with hospitals and clinics to develop and distribute technologies that help with pediatric pain management. “Invincikids reduces barriers to access by providing one-stop-shop immersive technology packages that make children’s healthcare experiences less traumatic,” André Bollaert, executive director of Invincikids, said in a statement.

The Smileyscope device can be strapped onto children’s heads during medical procedures like an MRI or blood draw. It leads the children through various VR simulations, like an underwater adventure led by a penguin.

The device is intended for kids ages four and up, and uses neuromodulation to control the way pain signals reach the brain, which reduces discomfort during procedures. During the clinical trial process, the Smileyscope team found the device reduced patient pain by up to 60% and anxiety up to 40%.

Chan previously told Healthcare Brew that Smileyscope can save hospitals about $500,000 per MRI tube annually because the device helps reduce prep time for certain procedures.

“When you multiply, there’s usually three or four MRI scanners in a pediatric hospital, maybe more in an adult hospital as well,” Chan said. “That has huge savings just for one department alone.”

Correction: 09/08/23: A previous version of this story confused the stats for anxiety and patient pain during clinical trials, and the cost range for the device has been updated.

Navigate the healthcare industry

Healthcare Brew covers pharmaceutical developments, health startups, the latest tech, and how it impacts hospitals and providers to keep administrators and providers informed.