Texas Children’s participates in Healthcare Games Showdown

July 15, 2019

Texas Children’s Hospital is seeking an innovative solution to at-home hospital care for patients who are discharged from the health care setting but are still healing. Instead of providing patients with a binder of instructions, Texas Children’s Cancer & Hematology Center is working with a group of college and graduate students to create an interactive video game that encourages positive health habits in the home. The effort is part of the Healthcare Games Showdown™, which is going on throughout July and is being hosted by the world-renowned Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute.

“Leveraging game design to encourage healthy behaviors in the home is a great way to engage children and promote positive health outcomes,” said Business Development & Innovation Manager for Women’s Services Haley Jackson. “We are excited to learn from this innovative project!”

Jackson, Quinn Franklin, Assistant Director of the Psychosocial Division of the Cancer and Hematology Centers; and Dr. Monica Gramatges, Co-Director of the Center’s Survivorship Program, are advising the TCH student team with the support of Senior Vice President Myra Davis, Chief Quality Officer Dr. Eric Williams, Vice President Jackie Ward and Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers Director, Dr. Susan Blaney.

The group is working with a team of four digital media and computer science students – Jacqueline Nguyen of the University of Texas Dallas, Carlos Puerta of the University of Houston, David Musick of the University of Houston and Jonathan Nelson of Huntington University – to develop a prototype for an augmented reality game that focuses on the importance of hand washing and oral hygiene.

The concept for the game revolves around an animated world that can be unlocked by patients, families and/or caregivers when they complete a handwashing or oral hygiene activity. Players will be sent alerts on their smart phone device when it’s time for an action to be completed. Each time the player completes a task, their animated universe becomes more complex and elaborate.

“Health care video gaming allows us to foster playfulness and learning through a medium that our patients are naturally drawn to,” Franklin said.

During the development period, patients will be viewing the game and providing feedback as it is created. Marty McMahon, our Texas Children’s Gaming Activity Coordinator funded through a collaboration with Child’s Play, is also supporting this effort as a technical mentor for the students.

A live-stream following the progress of all three teams participating in the Healthcare Gaming Showdown is being hosted weekly by comedian and voice-over actor, Scott Gibbs, together with Ink Rose and Kevin Wu. Click here to learn more about the games and how to tune in to the live-stream.

“At Texas Children’s Hospital, our mission is to create a healthier future for children,” Davis said. “Using augmented reality and video games is an excellent means with which to continue our mission.”