Why Health Care Needs Design Research: Broadening the Perspective on Communication in Pediatric Care Through Play

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Abstract

Today's pediatric health care lacks methods to tap into the emotional state of hospitalized pediatric patients (age 4-6 years). The most frequently used approaches were developed for adults and fail to acknowledge the importance of imaginary experiences and the notion of play that may appeal to children. The scope of this article is to introduce a new design-oriented method of gathering information about the emotional state of pediatric patients using an experimental computer game called the Child Patient game (CPgame). The CPgame was developed at a Danish hospital, and the results of the preliminary tests show that games could serve as a system in which children are willing to express their emotions through play. The results are based on two comparative analyses of the CPgame through which it is possible to identify three different types of players among the patients playing the game. Furthermore, the data reveal that pediatric patients display a radically different play pattern than children who are not in hospital. The inquiry takes an interdisciplinary approach; it has obvious health care-related objectives and seeks to meet the urgent need for new methods within health care to optimize communication with young children. At the same time, design research (i.e., the development of new knowledge through the development of a new design) heavily impacts the method.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Communication
Volume30
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)1032-1045
ISSN1041-0236
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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