Written By: Jessica Correnti, CCLS, CEIM and Kimberly Ely, CCLS
There are numerous apps (short for applications) out there that can aid in preparation, education, and adding a little control to a hospital setting. As child life specialists, we need apps that work for our hospital, our population, and our budget. First, we would like to share an instance when the opportunity to create an app was ceased by a child life specialist and share some of the resources she enlisted. Then we would like to share a few available apps that may aid you in deciding where to begin if creating an app is not for you or the program in which you work.
How I enlisted the help of my community to build an app for my program:
I am a one-person program at a proton therapy institute. Splitting departing time, money and resources is a difficult balancing act and with little to no existing proton specific preparation material; I knew that creating my own prep book would be the best solution. However because we treat pediatric patients from all over the world, I thought, “Let‘s take this prep tool one step further and create a free standing app so that our patients can start the education process, providing some sense of control and preparedness before they arrive in the United States. This would help educate not only patients and families but home hospital teams as well.
Once I had a clear goal in mind of how I wanted my app to work, I set out develop an interactive storybook app that could be downloaded on either Android or IOS devices. I did a simple Google search of “how-to’s” and quickly realized that this was another full-time job! I was out of my scope and thought that if I wanted this app to be successful I would have to reach out to experts in the app development field. Around that same time serendipitously I met a man who worked at Microsoft and told him about my idea, he loved the idea and helped to find a free-lance developer who was willing to make my idea a reality! The only missing puzzle piece was content development and illustration, for that I
turned to my alma mater. After seeing an article that featured last year’s interactive design class I contacted the professor to see if her fall semester students would be interested in collaborating on this project. The response was awe-inspiring and catapulted my idea to a whole new level. The class, our developer and I have been working on this project for a few months now planning, drafting storyboards, and capturing images, audio, and illustrations for the app. We are scheduled to complete our first prototype by the end of November and look forward to a launch date at the beginning of next year.
But what resources can you use to create electronic preparation tools without going through a series of hoops to get there?
i Get Going (To the Hospital and Child Life Services)
- i Get Going is a series of apps (22 in series) for developing initially as social skills stories to assist children with autism and learning disabled.
- Available free of charge via Child Life Technology volunteer company.
- i Get Going Hospital and Child Life Services is one of the 22 apps in the series.
- The core app framework and capabilities are currently available with a few pre-populated books for you to use “as is” or modify to suit your particular circumstance, needs, and requirements. A comprehensive library of 100 procedure preparations will be available freely to
distribute to both medical professionals and patients over time.
- Preparation books to be created will have multiple versions, suitable for varying patient capabilities, needs, and ages.
- Preparations will be translated into multiple languages through partnership with international child life teams.
- App developer has been working with Amanda Moatz, CCLS as well as with several other certified child life specialists across the country to create credible, appropriate content.
- Free app that has the ability to store and present PowerPoint or Keynote presentations.
- With Slideshark it is possible to make a preparation book on your computer via Powerpoint or Keynote and then download the presentation straight to Slideshark from the computer for quick, easy access to your preparation sequences at any given time. www.slideshark.com
- You can read existing pdf files in iBooks as books.
- iBooks has the ability to present books with rich multimedia and interactive games to patients and medical professionals. (ie. video, sounds, and games can be embedded into iBook’s
- Create your own books straight from the app.
- Easy and quick to use to create preparation books, even with short notice or ‘on the fly’.
- You can add pictures to your book by taking a picture on your iPad, pulling pictures from your Photo
Library, or drawing your own pictures with drawing tools within the app.
- It is also possible to add text, music, video, and narration.