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New ‘tablet’ alternative to opioid prescriptions used for the first time in one Utah hospital

Posted at 6:38 PM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-27 20:38:49-05

OREM, Utah — It’s the first of it’s kind here in Utah: Managing pain through a tablet — an electronic tablet.

The program is used at Timpanogos Regional Hospital in hopes to reduce the amount of opioids used.

Nine-year-old Colton sits in his hospital bed after a skiing accident, playing on the new tablet, AccendoWave, provided by the hospital.

“You can watch a lot of Harry Potter, Polar Express,” Colton said.

Just like an iPad, Colton can play games or listen to music as well — his favorite is playing games.

“This could help you forget about the pain,” he said.

That’s exactly what it’s designed to do — distract patients from their pain. It’s an alternative to using opioids.

Spencer Rasmussen, who helps patients with AccendoWave, said it makes sense to use something people already do every day to distract themselves.

“A lot of people distract themselves on their phones day-to-day anyways, so we found that just using a tablet that can distract them from their pain as well,” Rasmussen said.

AccendoWave can tell how conscious and relaxed patients are by using a headband that scans and evaluates the electrical activity of the brain.

By watching their brainwaves, the program will change the content based on how much a patient's body is experiencing pain.

So far, Nate Black with Timpanogos Regional Hospital said patients have been satisfied with the much-needed distraction.

“Our patients have a good success with it — about 80 percent of the patients find it’s helpful,” Black said.

Black said it’s another huge step in decreasing opioid prescription use.

The hospital is planning a formal study on how effective AccendoWave is, but Black said this could be a game-changer in pain management.

For Colton, it helps pass the time, feeling less pain.

“Sometimes it thinks I’m being super sad cause I keep losing at this game, but I’m really not sad,” he said.