The communication gap between pediatric patients and their doctors may soon shrink with a new virtual reality (VR) technology designed to facilitate conversation between doctors and patients. Boston Children’s Hospital is teaming up with Klick Health to bring pediatric patients HealthVoyager™, a medication education and patient experience platform that uses VR to show patients their individual medical findings in an immersive 3D environment. The initiative will be part of a validation study to gauge the technology's effect on patient and family understanding and engagement.
The proof of concept platform is intended for pediatric gastrointestinal (GI) patients. By integrating into the clinical workflow of endoscopic procedures such as colonoscopies, HealthVoyager™ GI is expected to enable Boston Children’s gastroenterologists to custom-configure life-like, 3D anatomical imagery and take pediatric patients with conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis on iPhone-based virtual tours of their GI tract.
Gastroenterologists traditionally share endoscopy and colonoscopy findings with patients and their families using printouts that become part of a patient’s medical record. These highly text-based clinical documents are designed for medical documentation, not necessarily patient understanding. Using HealthVoyager™, children and their families can visualize and better understand their disease and adhere to their therapies.
The healthcare provider frontend application, the patient mobile application and an intermediary web service linking the two together are the three elements of the system. The platform is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and is being developed to be accessible from within a hospital’s electronic medical records system to protect the privacy and security of patient health information and ensure clinical adoption and sustainability. It runs on iOS; Android compatibility will be available in future versions.
How HealthVoyagerTM GI Works:
At the Physician Level
1. The physician inputs the clinical findings of a patient’s endoscopy and/or colonoscopy onto a proprietary web interface that customize the upper and lower GI tract digital illustrations on the platform. Using drag-and-drop functionality, the physician can accurately place polyps, ulcers, bleeding and other conditions precisely where they are found during the actual procedure(s).
2. The physician clicks to generate the patient report and bring the clinical findings to life in a customized 3D anatomical virtual reality experience.
3. The tool automatically generates a PDF report with a unique patient QR code to share with the patient and family.
At the Patient Level
4. The patient/family scans the custom QR code using their mobile phone to access their personalized HealthVoyagerTM.
5. The patient creates their personalized avatar on the app.
Using VR clip-on glasses, Google Cardboard or another VR headset, the patient clicks to start their own customized VR tour inside their GI digestive tract, traveling through their upper and lower GI regions in 3D to see an accurate representation of what their doctor(s) saw during their procedure(s). For added context, they can also compare their unique findings of their GI tract with a tour of an unaffected patient’s procedure.