Mobile apps making hospital visits less scary for children – Digital apps for pediatric care
Innovative digital apps for pediatric care
Mobile technology has revolutionised the world of software applications whereby people can access services directly from their smart devices through mobile applications. Thus, these applications have transformed the health care industry whereby patients and doctors can freely interact and communicate despite geographical and language barriers. Mobile health apps have drastically improved the quality of medical service worldwide.
Pediatric care is the provision of healthcare services to children, teenagers and adults which compose the three segments of pediatric care. Therefore, since this form of care is usually administered to all population groups within the society, the quality of healthcare sometimes tends to vary because of the availability of mHealth apps in each segment.
Therefore, due to the sensitive nature of young children especially during hospital visits, various mobile applications are assisting in educating them on the various techniques of hygiene, prevention measures and treatment plans.
This segment mainly involves children aged between 0-3 years old, who are vulnerable to various diseases and infections. The other segment in pediatric care is young children aged between 4-12 years. This stage is known as the developmental stage whereby the children start to experience some degree of mental, emotional, and physical growth. Therefore, for them to understand how their respective bodies grow, they have a massive range of mobile apps designed specifically for education purposes.
Mobile applications tend to serve as informative tools for young children to learn more about the importance of healthcare. Since children are exposed to technological devices such as smartphones, tablets and iPads, the possibility of them learning more about their medical status through the installed apps is inevitable.
Therefore, mobile apps for kids have a fun and interactive theme that keeps them engaged in playing house doctor for their animated pets and people within the application program. These mobile apps are designed to ensure that kids are actively engaged while playing the role of either the patient or doctor.
Some of the apps like Alder Play is used to engage children in a productive way whereby they get to create avatars they can use to understand the dynamics of medical care services, the importance of hospital visits, and doctors’ appointments.
The technology behind these applications depends on the function of the app. For instance, most mobile technology apps rely on software programming while other depend on sensors and artificial intelligence technologies. The gamification concept has revolutionised the development of healthcare apps whereby patients get to learn how to practically implement certain measures and initiatives in their lives that improve their medical condition.
Gamification allows children visiting the hospital to understand the protocol used while at the doctor’s office in a fun and interactive approach.
The role of AR/VR technologies in mHealth applications is to help children develop virtual simulations that mimic the actual representation of the hospital visit directly from their mobile device.
It serves as a familiarity tool that children can use to understand the dynamics of the hospital visit and what to expect during the doctor’s consultation visit. The reward system also motivates kids to appreciate and value hospital visits because they know they will receive a gift from their parents or guardians after the assessment is completed. This system helps to change their behaviour and attitude towards hospital visits hence improve their medical condition.
Top mobile apps making hospital visits comfortable for kids
- Alder Play
This is an application that uses augmented reality technology to distract children from their surgical procedures. It serves to engage the child in a continuous game whereby they collect points and credits as they continue playing the game awaiting the procedure.
Kids are able to create their personalised avatars and it becomes active once they reach the hospital. From there they get to play the game until their operation begins. It is available on Android devices.
- Doctor Kids
This is an application that is informative and very interactive. It offers kids a game-like interface where they get to play a game that presents them with various medical scenarios with colourful objects and elements. The kids get to play doctor and assign the patient to the specific doctor’s office which contains a mini-game that includes treatment and diagnosing the patient.
It helps kids overcome the fear of hospital visits and dental checkups. It is based on mobile technology because its integrated on mobile devices. Its available on Android devices.
- Little Kids Hospital Emergency Doctor
This is a mobile application that sensitizes small children of the entire hospital experience whereby they get acquainted with what to expect while they go for a doctor’s appointment and the procedure they might likely go through.
The application is based on mobile technology and helps children familiarise themselves with the hospital environment especially for first-time appointments. It is available on Android devices.
- Kids Hospital: Eye Doctor
This is an application that provides young children with an educative platform to learn more about taking care of their eye in terms of hygiene, eye irritation, and infection. The app is developed based on mobile technology and its available on Android devices. They educate children on preventive measures and how to use their contact lenses.
- Baby Panda’s Hospital
This is a mobile application developed using mobile technology. It allows kids to understand the role of the doctor while treating patients. It is an informative app that teaches children how best to take care of themselves. It teaches children the importance of frequent checkups and preventive measures against dental bacteria. It teaches children the importance of frequent checkups and preventive measures against bodily infections.
The future of paediatric care
Mobile apps have created a new attitude behaviour among children who in the past feared to go to the hospital because of the needles and the assumption that doctors were bad people. However, these applications have changed their perspective on hospital visits and the doctors assessing them. The apps are fun, engaging and help children understand the process of their respective medical diagnosis, treatment and checkup will go.
The use of mobile apps in healthcare among children is being accepted by all medical sectors because kids nowadays are exposed to advanced technology through the use of smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Children are exposed to all sorts of technological devices and services, therefore, teaching them to use mHealth apps to learn how best to manage their health status.