'Time flew by': Neurology patients use virtual technology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Virtual technology is being used to help patients at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center.

FOX8 reported about the virtual headsets being used by the department of neurology last week. Patients getting infusion therapy can use them to watch things like Netflix, play games and even explore the bottom of the ocean.

On Wednesday, we got to see the technology in action.

“Great, I had it on for about an hour and the time flew by,” said Matt Mullen, a patient.

Mullen was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis about six months ago.

“I did what I could to not let it get to me,” Mullen said.

His hospital visit on Wednesday will likely take five hours.

“It’s not that bad,” Mullen said.

He says the new headsets make it better.

“Makes this whole process seem a whole hour shorter,” Mullen said.

Right now, the hospital has five headsets. They cost about $1,000 each with the applications.

“People who have experienced it, seem to just love it,” said Dr. Charles Tegeler, the interim chair of neurology with Wake Forest Baptist Health. “We have to almost keep the staff from using it when the patients aren’t here.”

Tegeler says the department of neurology got the idea to get the headsets after visiting a local company that developed some VR technology.

“Just making it more comfortable for the patient, that’s always important and improving the patient experience,” Tegeler said. “There is a lot of evidence that chronic stress, anxiety, insomnia and poor sleep actually impact your health in lots of different ways.”

Now, they plan to do research to see if the technology improves outcomes in a measurable way. Tegeler also hopes to get this technology into other departments at the hospital.

“We’re really just scratching the surface, the tip of the iceberg,” Tegeler said.

“I would imagine it would be great in any department, anyone who is looking to pass time,” Mullen said.

The department of neurology purchased the headsets with its funds but hopes to get a grant to purchase more.

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