There was a time when a TV and DVD player was sufficient to keep most pediatric patients occupied during a hospital admission. And the devices could be used for educational purposes as well. But a couple of years ago, Phoenix Children’s Hospital realized that in 2018, TVs and DVDs are old school, and streaming is king.
Many kids today don’t have traditional cable or satellite programming – in their homes, content is streamed on various devices instead. Kids are used to being able to stop and start and pause shows and movies at will. And with the frequent interruptions that can occur in the hospital setting, it’s unrealistic to expect that a child can watch a movie or even an hour-long show without needing to stop it at some point.
To better serve their patients and families, the hospital began offering iPads to patients that deliver streaming entertainment along with educational offerings. Short, 1-2 minute information videos on safety and health topics are presented prior to entertainment videos, and the patient can’t see the entertainment until the educational information has been watched. Patients and families with a new health issue tend to watch the same short content pieces over and over as they absorb the new information. This is an improvement over a one-time viewing of a DVD.
The hospital recently added a feature for ordering food to the iPads. Each patient’s dietary requirements are loaded into the system so that the patient can only order what he or she is allowed to eat.
Some of the challenges involved with setting up the iPad system were:
- Securing the devices
- Ensuring only age-appropriate content was displayed
- Including parental controls to allow parents to control the amount of screen time for their child