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Wireless Headband Eases Discomfort at Southern Hills Hospital

The Las Vegas facility is trialing a system that measures a patient's brain waves and—based on that data—delivers games, music and video content via a tablet in order to lessen pain, anxiety or nausea.
By Claire Swedberg
Dec 15, 2015

When patients in pain visit the emergency department at Las Vegas' Southern Hills Hospital, taking medication is no longer their only option. The medical facility also provides a new technological approach to reducing stress, pain and nausea, via a headband that measures brain waves and a tablet computer that provides content to alleviate the tension detected by the brain-wave measurements.

Until recently, when health-care providers wanted to gauge the level of discomfort a patient was enduring, they typically had to ask that individual to rate his or her pain—for example, on a scale of 1 to 10—and then use that information to plan treatment accordingly. If they wanted to ease the patient's pain, they needed to administer medication.

AccendoWave uses an InteraXon headband, which captures brain-wave measurements via its seven built-in EEG electrodes and transmits that data via a Bluetooth connection.
Several months ago AccendoWave released an alternative solution that does not require medication and is personalized to each patient. The system was released in June 2015, says Martha Lawrence, AccendoWave's founder and CEO, and has since been tested at several facilities. The company has spent seven years researching its solution for assessing patient discomfort levels, and is now using a headband provided by InteraXon. The InteraXon headband measures electroencephalography (EEG) activity via its seven built-in EEG sensor leads and transmits that data via a Bluetooth connection to a tablet PC. Accendowave software running on that tablet analyzes that EEG data and then provides content aimed at reducing that discomfort.

Southern Hills CEO, Adam Rudd
Southern Hills Hospital has 134 beds and serves patients throughout the Las Vegas area. The facility's emergency department has 56 InteraXon headband devices for use by patients of all ages. The system provides what Adam Rudd, the hospital's CEO, calls diversion therapy. Each patient in discomfort, either due to stress, pain or nausea, is offered the AccendoWave device to help provide distraction tailored to that individual, based on the patient's brain waves as he or she views content on a tablet.

The tablet, a Samsung Tab 4, uses its built-in AccendoWave software to process patient brain-wave data and then display diversionary content, including games, music, video clips and full-length movies. If, as a patient views a specific piece of content, the brain waves change to indicate increasing comfort, that content remains on the screen. If the content does not appear to have a positive effect on the brain waves, the software continues to select other content until it displays something appealing to the patient.

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