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FINDING HOPE: Treasure Valley hospital using technology to treat pain

Posted: 3:28 PM, Jun 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-04 04:17:23Z

CALDWELL, Idaho — A new approach to cut back on opioid use in the Treasure Valley is using technology to help patients manage their pain.

It's called AccendoWave and is only being used in two hospitals in the country -- one in Las Vegas and the West Valley Medical Center in Caldwell.

Patients like Brad Young, who tested the technology after spinal surgery, say it works.

"I'm a big proponent of curbing the use of opioids," Young said. "I kind of went into this with an open mind and not wanting to use a lot of drugs."

The tablet's main task is to distract patients from their pain through feel-good videos, movies, games and music. A pairing headset monitors a patient's brainwaves and perceived pain level.

"It is truly just cutting edge, very innovative," Angie Davis with West Valley Medical Center said. "From their first quarter data, 90% of the patients felt that it was definitely supportive of helping them with their pain management as well as nausea."

"It's an active discomfort management technology, it's a non-pharmaceutical opioid alternative," patient experience associate Kat Merges said. "It's comprised of a tablet and a headband and it monitors and analyzes a patient's brainwaves and selects content on the tablet based off what the technology reads from the patient's brainwaves."

It's called diversionary therapy, designed to preoccupy a patient's mind, diverting their attention away from what they're going through at the hospital. It doesn't completely replace the need for medication but can cut back on the amount of opioids needed.

The medical center absorbs the cost to use the tablets, so there's no fee for patients. Each person is also prompted to answer a short survey after their use to gather feedback.

Right now the technology is only available while patients are at the hospital, but the company is beginning to explore options to expand access through at-home applications.

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