Blood Quest

Finalist category: Digital Health Award


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Digital Health Award, Finalist, 2017

How to allay children’s anxiety during blood tests

Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) has produced a free new app for iPad called ‘Blood Quest’, which aims to help alleviate children and young people’s anxiety when they have a blood test.

‘Blood Quest’ empowers children and young people to feel in control of their treatment, by harnessing digital technology to provide an informative, engaging and fun app. The app makes science and medicine understandable and accessible for children and young people through creative media.

The app informs, entertains and distracts children when blood is being taken. It was developed in response to nursing staff working on the children’s cancer wards at GOSH, where patients often need multiple blood tests during their treatment. The staff are often  asked many questions by worried younger patients who are naturally apprehensive about how their blood will be taken.

As well as a source of valuable information, the app features a ‘quest’ game with different levels to complete, alongside quizzes about animals and their hearts. The game levels last the length of an average blood test, and are designed to occupy the young person specifically during the procedure.

Its aim is to help distract children and young people by giving them something else to focus on so they can relax when having blood taken, making the experience as stress-free as possible.

Image of bone marrow showing how blood is made

A research team at the hospital developed the application in collaboration with the hospital’s art programme, GOSH Arts.

It is hoped the positive response the app has received at GOSH inspires children and young people being treated at other hospitals across the country to download it and use it to help alleviate anxiety they may experience before and during a blood test.

An early evaluation has been very positive, with fantastic feedback from the children and young people who have benefited from using the app. Once the more in-depth results are fully known, these will be shared across the healthcare community.

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