Bureaucracy remains one of the biggest obstacles to innovation in healthcare. Paper charts, paper prescriptions and paper documentation remain the norm in many hospitals and doctor offices. The Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto figured out a way to improve care for children with cancer through building an iOS app.
SickKids cares for thousands of children with cancer. One of the most important duties of staff at the hospital is to measure the pain of their patients. The data needs to be timely and daily updates are best. Writing out diaries for the patients or pushing them to write updates about their pain has proven to be a difficult and unpleasant activity for staff. Enter The Pain Squad.
As an interactive game featuring actors from popular Canadian detective shows Rookie Blue and Flashpoint the pain diaries turned the chore of reporting into something fun. Sick Kids reports that the Pain Squad app boosted participation rates from 50 percent for paper diaries to 90 percent with the app.
SickKids will launch a free version of the app in the Apple AppStore for hospitals all over the world to use. The success of the app is also showing the potential of a similar product for standard patient care.
The Pain Squad app may be used to save lives or improve the quality of life for young cancer. Other apps may not have as important goals, but the era of documenting healthcare on paper appears to be coming to a merciful end.