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Mobile App Helps Young Patients Overcome Fear of Anesthesia

Tablet-based game uses zoo animals to relax and encourage proper breathing

Published Sunday July 1, 2018

Child Anesthesia Game App

When Abby Hess realized there was no effective way to calm a boy who recoiled from an anesthesia mask before surgery at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, she decided to invent one. The nurse practitioner envisioned a video game app played on a tablet computer, which would be controlled by a child breathing into the mask.

The game system, developed by Kinetic Vision’s Software + Solutions and Creative + Visualization groups, relies on Bluetooth technology and features an elephant and other animals walking to a zoo, was designed to transform what can be a nightmare into an entertaining way to fall asleep while inhaling anesthetic gas. The animals move with each breath of the child, who nods off after a couple minutes of playing the yet-to-be-named game. “Every kid has been excited to play,” said Hess, 35. “Kids I knew who had difficult experiences before and would not come within feet of this mask were willing to interact with it in that fun and engaging way.

Senior Vice President Jeremy Jarrett summarized, “We’re very excited to have the opportunity to work with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Innovation Accelerator team to develop this innovative device. Knowing that our work has the potential to radically improve the anesthesia process for younger patients, and positively impacting what is often a serious situation, is very personally and professionally rewarding.”

Read more about Abby’s idea in the Cincinnati Business Courier article by Barrett J. Brunsman.