If you saw the Disney movie Big Hero 6 then you know its only a matter of time before robots may be guiding our children through anxious medical and dental treatments. We already utilize technology in the dental office in the form of cartoons and movies as distraction. A new robot has been designed specifically to help children manage pain and painful medical treatments.
Dr. Tanya Beran, Chief Scientific Officer for RxRobots™ and Professor in Community Health
Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine,
University of Calgary observed an experiment of a teenage boy interacting with a robot. Not only did he show empathy, but he also tried to help the robot.
Not knowing why and with little in the research to explain this behavior, she started her own. Dr. Beran was shocked to find that children tend to think that robots are alive.
While working in hospitals, Dr. Beran was alarmed to see children screaming, struggling, and pleading not to have a needle. She realized these procedures need to be easier, faster, and far less painful.
“MEDi will become an essential part of the dental team of every dental office”
Results from a randomized trial, published in the June 2013 issue of the Vaccine journal, showed that MEDi helped calm children and reduce their pain by 50 percent during medical procedures, such as vaccinations, using cognitive-behavioral intervention. Comparable results are now being gathered by a dental office in New Jersey.
The dental team has been utilizing MEDi for about five months now and reports overall positive experiences. MEDi is constantly in the active mode allowing children to interact with him immediately and continually upon entering the dental operatory. MEDi distracts the children, reducing their initial anxiety and fear. They listen to the MEDi’s instructions, which allows the rest of the dental team to move forward faster and more seamlessly with their work with a more compliant patient.