This Clever App Helps Distract Kids in Hospital by Gamifying Procedures

Alder Hey Children's Hospital Gives Kids an Avatar and Parents a Helpful Chatbot

By Alexandra Jardine. Published on Dec 12, 2017

Editor's Pick

Technology may not be able to cure all kids' disease, but medical organizations are making great strides in using it to make the experience of illness more bearable for them.In the past couple of years examples have included the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation using Imaginary Friends to explain to kids what happens when you have cancer, Honda using augmented reality to help sick kids in hospital over the holidays and Expedia's amazing 360 degree dream adventure installations for kids with cancer.

The latest innovative app comes from the U.K.'s Alder Hey Children's Hospital. The app, Alder Play, uses gaming and augmented reality to distract patients having procedures in hospital. Young patients choose and name their own avatar which will help them understand their hospital visit before they arrive and help calm them during their stay. Their avatar "pops up" at various hospital locations during their visit and helps patients collect "rewards" following procedures that allows them to access new content.

Within Alder Play, parents will also be able to interact with a chatbot called 'Ask Oli' to ask questions about the hospital and what may happen to their child. The system uses IBM's Watson technology to enable questions to be answered in real time -- the first time cognitive technologies have been applied in any hospital in the U.K. in this way.

The app, created by digital agency Ustwo, has been built using the opinions and views of children and young people. Five years ago, a seven year old patient named Niamh Barnes suggested to hospital staff the idea for an app to be created that would distract children like her while they were in hospital, and she and other patients have continued to inspire the app's developers.

Rate this Ad

You must be registered to rate this ad.
Please or Register Now


Dec 12, 2017
Ustwo London
Alder Hey Children's Hospital
Creative Technologist:
Kevin Malkic
Creative Technologist:
Anders Lystad Brevik
Creative Technologist:
Dain Demmel
Quality Assurance:
Derek Thorpe
Product Lead:
James Griffin
UX Lead:
Holly Brenan
Design Lead:
Jay Chan
Managing Director:
Nicki Sprinz
Delivery Coach:
Gayane Gevorgyan

Need a credit fix? Contact the Creativity Editors

The Creativity Newsletter

The Creativity newsletter is editorially curated to spotlight the work that’s hitting the mark—or missing it altogether. Sign up to have it sent to your inbox.