Patients at one of the world’s leading paediatric health-care institutions are healing faster and feeling better, thanks to some cool smartphone apps and top-of-the-line computer gear.
Every year, Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) treats thousands of children, and doctors, nurses and researchers there are continually working on innovative ways to manage and minimize pain experienced during treatment, and make any hospital stay more enjoyable.
One of the coolest ways is to capitalize on the popularity of mobile apps and video games.
Not only cool, but award-winning. The new Pain Squad mobile app (developed by Toronto-based digital agency Cundari for Sick Kids Hospital) has been named the “Best of the Best” in the world!
The app’s development was triggered by fact that, asked to record twice a day how they feel during treatment using a pencil and paper, many patients are too tired or distracted to keep detailed reports.
Of course, without accurate self-reporting and pain data record keeping, treatment is less effective and hospital stays can be much longer.
So to engage and motivate child cancer patients, for example, to complete their pain report, the app developers decided to tap into a kid’s inherent love of play. By embracing gaming, a way to take a previously tedious task and make it fun and even empowering could be used, and effectively so.
Since Pain Squad’s launch, compliance rates for pain journals have been over 90%.
“We’re extremely honoured, and humbled, to receive such a prestigious international award,” said Andrew Simon, Chief Creative Officer at Cundari. “Knowing that we have been recognized for an innovative idea that has changed lives for the better makes it that much more special.”
Special, too, is the support from a number of organizations to improve the patient experience through the power of play and connectivity to the outside world, using technology.
Microsoft Canada, its partners at Children’s Miracle Network and the Sick Kids Foundation have launched the Child Life Interactive Computers for Kids (CLICK) program.
CLICK gives hospitalized children access to technology, providing them with a distraction and therapeutic outlet while reducing anxiety and stress. The program encourages youth to stay connected and feel empowered while making technology accessible for patients and families at the hospital.
Patients will have access to the latest technology, including Xbox Kinect Games and the Xbox One; laptops installed with Skype, HD cameras and Microsoft Movie Maker; Windows Surface Tablets; TVs with DVD players, cameras, projectors headsets and more.
To ensure there is a therapeutic value to the technology available, Microsoft Canada also funds a Child Life Specialist, who helps tailor programs for kids and can teach both the children and their parents how to use the technology effectively.
Microsoft Canada supports five other Children’s Miracle Network member hospitals in this country, including the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario ; the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire du Quebec; the Alberta Children’s Hospital; the IWK Health Centre and McMaster Children’s Hospital.
“Access to technology and electronic entertainment systems like the ones provided by the CLICK program helps provide patients at SickKids with the opportunity to interact with their friends and family and engage in therapeutic activities with the support of a Child Life Specialist, while serving as a welcome distraction from the painful reality of disease and injury,” said Adrian Horwood, Vice President of Corporate Partnerships at SickKids Foundation. “Microsoft’s generous commitment to help facilitate this will help staff at SickKids continue to offer a sense of normalcy to children and their families during a very difficult time.”
submitted by Lee Rickwood