First Pain Management Robots Delivered to Children’s Hospital

By John Lavitt 06/29/15

RxRobots has been testing the robots at Alberta Children's Hospital for three years.

MEDi Robot
Photo via

Breaking new ground in pain management, technology company RxRobots has delivered four MEDi robots to Alberta Children's Hospital.

The MEDi Robots were designed at Alberta Children’s Hospital to interact with children while they are having painful medical procedures done. The robots use applications to interact with children and distract them while they are having vaccinations and blood tests. If the pain management program continues to be successful, the company plans to expand into the U.S. market by the end of 2015.

The MEDi robots provide extra support in pediatric comfort and care for the patient and efficiency for nurses and therapists. Study results published in the journal Vaccine showed that MEDi reduced children's pain during medical procedures by 50%. MEDi robots were also found to increase vaccination rates by 10%, as children become more amenable to the process.

Dr. Tanya Beran, Chief Scientific Officer for RxRobots and professor of Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary, explains how the process works:

"These applications tell MEDi what to say and do in order to distract children from the needle, the bandage, whatever is involved in the procedure. MEDi coaches them, using the cognitive behavior interventions that we know from research work. For example, MEDi shows and role models the behaviors we want the kids to learn."

SES Robotics plan to deliver MEDi to hospitals in the Northeast, Southern, and Midwest regions of the U.S. in 2015. Mark Williams, President and CEO of RxRobots, detailed the expansion plan: "We are pleased to partner with SES to deliver our pain management technology to American hospitals. SES will provide regional support and service for MEDi and we plan to collaborate with SES on software application development."

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.