New Game Introduces Youngest Patients to the CC
The NIH Clinical Center is giving its patients the chance to “level up” with a new app.
The CC Treasure Tour is a free game application. Launched last fall, the app is aimed at children, teens and their families to help them better understand the layout of the hospital, the programs and services offered onsite and the procedures and tests patients might undergo.
“At the NIH CC we want to make every effort to ensure children and their families coming to receive treatment feel comfortable and can navigate the hospital with ease,” said CC CEO Dr. James Gilman.
Treasure Tour is designed to be a fun and interactive game. Players can customize their character and explore the hospital before visiting in person.
Treasure Tour provides a look at six different CC patient care areas. All are presented in a kid-friendly way and are easily recognizable to anyone who has visited, or will soon visit, the hospital.
“Leaving home to receive care at a new hospital can be very frightening, especially to young children,” said Dr. Lori Wiener, co-director of the Behavioral Health Core and director for the Psychosocial Support and Research Program of NCI’s Pediatric Oncology Branch.
The game is another way to “help to reduce uncertainty, decrease associated distress and enhance adjustment to the new hospital and treatment,” she added.
Kavya Nadella, a student majoring in speech therapy at the University of Houston and a patient at the hospital, narrates the game.
“I was a part of the clinical research for Dock 8 immunodeficiency and I was part of that study from when I first got in contact with NIH in 2014 to now,” she said.
Nadella spent several weeks recording scripts daily this past summer during a break from her studies. This was her first time doing voice-over work. She was very excited to participate.
The CC Office of Communications and Media Relations came up with the idea for the app and shepherded the project in close partnership with Wiener and her staff, as well as with guidance from the pediatric care committee, department of clinical research informatics, the Children’s Inn at NIH and other stakeholders.
Treasure Tour is a single-player game, so children aren’t in a game environment with strangers. The app does not gather personally identifiable information during play nor track users’ geo-location or use their social media in any way.