Virtual Reality gets introduced to Pullman Regional Hospital

Pullman Regional Hospital has started introducing virtual reality to their toolbox of technology after a father used the technology to help his daughter get a flu shot. Two virtual reality headsets have been purchased for Palouse Pediatrics and one for the ER, with hopes this technology will help the patient experience.

Don McMahon, an assistant professor of special education technology, brought his VR headset to his daughter’s flu shot appointment because she was afraid. His daughter did not notice getting the shot while using the technology. McMahon’s research is focused around utilizing Virtual Reality (VR) in education, specifically for students with disabilities.

Catherine Wilkins, a pediatric care coordinator at Pullman Regional Hospital, heard of this and encouraged the hospital’s innovation team to learn more. Healthcare professionals invited McMahon and his team at VR2GO Lab to the Health and Innovation Summit this past September, where they shared VR technology in the healthcare setting. Hospital professionals hope to utilize VR technology as one of their “distraction techniques” which currently range from singing to interactive books.

According to Wilkins, VR is a unique and highly effective technique for pediatric distraction since it distracts the patient and engages different senses. While the research on VR in healthcare is limited, McMahon’s team hopes to get more involved with the hospital as they learn more about the technology.