Use Case: Pediatric Needle Anxiety with Smileyscope

Smileyscope is a VRforHealth VR Solutions Partner

VRforHealth proudly introduces Virtual Reality Use Case articles. We thank VR Solution Partner Smileyscope for their support.

Virtual Reality Use Case Interview : Pediatric Needle Anxiety 

I Facts and Figures about the Use Case

Medical Definition of Pediatric Needle Anxiety (PNA)

Trypanophobia, or the fear of needles, is the term given to persons who have a heightened or unreasonable fear of needles.  It is estimated that 75% of children, 50% of teens, and 15% of adults have some level of fear of needles.  For a significant portion this fear can be debilitating.

Impact of PNA on patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals

The fear and anxiety suffered by those with trypanophobia can have a significant impact on the health system.  Often children and become upset, non-compliant, and even hostile to caregivers.  Oftentimes multiple HCPs are needed to restrain patients.  This may only serve to reinforce their fear and can carry on into adulthood.  In the worst-case scenario, patients may even refuse to seek needed treatment in order to avoid needles.  Failure to seek necessary car can result in sickness or even death.

Economic impact of PNA

Needle fear related costs have a significant impact on the healthcare system.  Non-compliance, vaccine refusal, and failure to seek medical treatment can result in an easily preventable disease costing patients and payers tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars individually.  The additional resources devoted to managing these patients is also significant.  All told, trypanophobia costs the healthcare systems billions annually.  On a broader scale, pain and anxiety treatment is a $600B expense to the United States annually.  Reducing opioids, sedatives, and other management techniques through Virtual Reality could safe the health system billions annually. 

II The SmileyScope Solution

What it is and how it works

Needlephobic behavior and anxiety effects 75% of children under the age of 18 resulting in healthcare avoidant behavior, stress on patients and HCPs, and billions in cost to the healthcare system. Smileyscope’s VR therapeutic addresses this common problem through a patented neuromodulation process that reduces pain signals to the brain and reframes negative real-world stimuli by replacing it with positive VR stimuli at key points in a procedure. The two largest VR trials to date show that Smileyscope reduces pain and anxiety associated with these procedures by 60% and 40%, respectively.

Key research publication

Smileyscope has conducted the two largest VR trials to date.  Our results were published in the June 2019 Journal of Pediatric Medicine.   The results found a 60% and 40% reduction in pain and anxiety, respectively.

Third party recognition including Certification, Patents

Smileyscope has received several international patents and 2 US patents.  Smileyscope’s patented neuromodulation process reduces pain signals to the brain and reframes negative real world stimuli by replacing it with positive VR stimuli at key points in a procedure.  Additionally, Smileyscope features best in class start up features that allow caregiver to prepare the software for use 5x faster than competitors. 

Regulatory Status and Countries of Availability

Smileyscope in available in the US, Australia and UK and is rapidly expanding its global footprint.  Smileyscope has all necessary Australian and UK and US regulatory approvals.  In the United States, the FDA governs Smileyscope under the Mobile Medical Applications policy letter, which defines the use and requirements within the emerging Digital Therapeutics space.

Key usage figures

Smileyscope officially launched US operations in Q4 of 2021, but has already received multiple awards from institutions such as Stanford, Children’s National, RSNA and others.  Currently, numerous top 25 Children’s hospitals are in the process of trialing and purchasing Smileyscope.

Company locations

The company is headquartered in Australia and US offices are located in New York. Smileyscope has a nationwide sales presence in the US to fulfill hospital and private practice needs.


Rush Children’s Hospital / Smileyscope National Evening news Video

Whom to contact for further information:

Gavin West

VP of Sales and Marketing

+1 (269) 369 – 1788

The information in this article was provided by Smileyscope.