iPad App Helps Providers Treat Children
By Katie Wike, contributing writer
App shows children what to expect during a routine visit to the doctor, reducing stress for children and parents and making exams smoother
A new iPad app, My Routine, is changing the way parents of children ages 18 months to 14 years with developmental delay, and the providers who treat them, are approaching office visits. The app, especially useful for children diagnosed with Autism who are often visual learners, is used “to create visual stories using your iPad to help reduce your child’s anxiety about what’s coming next. Turn a routine like bedtime or going to the doctor into a series of simple steps. Use your iPad’s camera to customize with photos or videos of your own. “
According to the creators at Vanderbilt University, the app was originally designed for families that had children with developmental delays who visit the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. And, while the app is helping children, providers are experiencing benefits as well.
According to MobiHealth News, Dr. David Crnobori, Behavior Consultant in Children’s Hospital’s Center for Child Development, has experienced positive results since he started using the storyboard approach in his practice. “Children, especially those with developing language skills, tend to be visual learners,” Crnobori says. “Since implementing these visual tools in the clinic, we’ve seen a decrease in patient anxiety. This has allowed for more effective evaluations and has created a more pleasant experience for the patients and their families.”
Dr. Niru Madduri, M.D., clinical director for the Center for Child Development is not surprised by the effects, “A lot of these children respond to using the iPad. It’s made an impact on how they learn skills. When children know they get something out of it, they are more likely to complete the tasks.” And when children are familiar with a task and complete it, like stepping on scales or sitting still for an exam, it makes the job of physicians much easier.
Madduri also notes the app can reach a broader audience, saying it “has been designed keeping children with special needs in mind, but even typically developing children could benefit from this.”
MobiHealth News points out “Other children’s hospitals have also experimented with apps that offer patients and their families a more interactive experience. In June, Boston Children’s Hospital finished a pilot for a new app, MyPassport which increases parents’ interaction with the care delivery system in several different ways like helping patients and parents keep track of all the people involved in a child’s care. The app also includes a care plan, that tells the patient or parent exactly what benchmarks the patient needs to meet before being discharged.”