Here at Ausdroid we all have day jobs separate from our Ausdroid “work”. Myself, I’m a Radiographer and have been for over 20 years. My day is spent performing mostly CT and MRI scans with an occasional x-ray thrown in there. Even with over 20 years of experience the most challenging scan or x-ray I could possibly perform is anything at all on a young child. The environment is often not kid-friendly. The walls are a sterile white, the floors are a clean lino and the machinery is scary looking to a young child. To say it is anxious ordeal for a child is an understatement.
Often it is the skill of the radiographer that helps a child get through a radiology examination without it being too much of a traumatic experience but more often than not it is what happens before the child reaches our department that sets the scene for the test. Not only do we want the child to have a not-unpleasant experience but we also obviously need to obtain a diagnostic test, without the patient moving, breathing when not meant to, etc. The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) have released an app called Okee, funded by The Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation, driven and designed by the radiology department’s Play Therapist.
The app uses a cartoon octopus called Okee to guide the user (the child usually) through the different examinations they may be having, what they should expect, what they have to do etc. It does this not just with the bombardment of information but also with gameplay. From pinching the screen to take a big breath in to holding the display very still while a shark swims by (taking an x-ray) the app makes learning about the Radiology experience fun. It also has information for parents as a child can often sense when a parent is anxious, leading to increased anxiety levels in the child.
The app has been designed for the RCH and as such has their booking and parking information but everything else within the app can be used for any and all other Radiology departments.
There have been many times in my career where I wish I had had something such as this to help a child get through an examination and now there is this, available for free. The app is very well designed considering it’s target audience with an outward appearance of fun, happy, bright colours. The developers have done a great job with it.
I strongly encourage all parents whose kids need to have any type of Radiology procedure download this app – it’s available on both Android and iOS – and go through it with the child well before attending any procedure. It will benefit everyone, hopefully making for a quick, timely procedure, one where the child is not traumatised and the Radiographer is able to obtain diagnostic images.