My Hospital Story - a Hospital Narrative App

Friday, May 12, 2017: 10:00 AM-1:40 PM
Golden Gate Ballroom (Marriott Marquis Hotel)
K. Blakeslee1, C. Wilkinson2, K. Diezel3, C. Mauras2, N. Goodman2, S. Al Ayubi4, N. Gujral3 and B. Resner5, (1)Autism Spectrum Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, (2)Developmental Medicine Center, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, (3)Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, (4)Innovation & Digital Health Accelerator, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA, (5)Hospital IQ, Newton, MA
Background:  My Hospital Storyis a mobile web app designed to prepare children and their families for medical visits and procedures at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH). Hospital narratives use images of children and developmentally appropriate text to prepare children and families for medical experiences. Hospitals in particular can cause stress for families and children with autism due to sensory concerns, communication challenges, and the unpredictability of the environment. Fears about these stressors and the hospital environment can often lead to medical needs not being met.

Objectives:  The My Hospital Storyapp is a digital version of hospital narratives designed to improve the patient and family experience by preparing and supporting children and families when they come into the hospital. The goals of the app include lowering patient and parent anxiety about the hospital setting, increasing patient coping with visits and procedures through prior preparation, and removing barriers to care.

Methods:  Before their visit to the hospital, children and caregivers can use the app to view step-by-step photos of their upcoming clinic visit, surgery, or procedure. Each photo is accompanied by text illustrating what is happening from the child’s perspective as well as the hospital environment. The app allows users to enter their child’s name and gender so that pictures and text are personalized.

Results:  At this time we have 13 stories available on the app spanning 6 departments (Developmental Medicine, Psychiatry, Neurology, Surgery, Audiology, and Phlebotomy) in our hospital. Currently, the app is being used in a pilot study to help prepare families for audiology visits.

Conclusions:  This project has been a collaborative effort between the Autism Spectrum Center, Child Life Services, and the Innovation and Digital Health Accelerator at Boston Children’s Hospital. The mobile app has several advantages over paper versions. It is accessible at all times, it is easily edited and updated, and lastly it provides an attractive interface to share and communicate these hospital narratives to children. Future versions hope to include additional features, such as automated audio readings of the text, translation into multiple languages, and the ability to customize stories with personal photos.