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April 9, 2020 - Story

Sweetening the pill with Squishy

Hospital stays are not a walk in the park. Especially for children. As they need to go through their treatment, a great deal of boredom and loneliness can quickly add to their already difficult experience. Plus, the hospital setting can also appear somewhat hostile. In order to help children take control of their environment and create a deeper connection with the hospital, we developed a unique proof of concept: Squishy. An AR-powered creative app that transforms young patients’ dull hospital rooms into digital playgrounds, improving patient experience.

The speed of a patient’s recovery process depends greatly on how the hospitalization is perceived. Way too often, however, there are inherent factors to a hospital stay that can hinder this process. First of all, patients experience a general lack of empowerment, since doctors and nurses are the only ones who have knowledge and power over the situation. Then, loneliness can sometimes take over when a child is far away from home, friends and family. Additionally, not knowing what to expect regarding their treatment can also take a heavy toll on the patient.

To tackle these challenges, we came up with a platform built around connection. Connection between the physical and the imaginative world. Connection among patients as well as between patients and relatives at home. Connection between the patient, their treatment and caregivers. The facilitator of that connection? Squishy. Present in all the app interfaces, the character acts as a creative guide and emotional support throughout.

The medical aspect of a child’s hospitalization is and will always remain a healthcare institution’s number one priority. So, going beyond pure distraction in playing, and truly establishing a connection with the hospital and the patient’s treatment process is extremely valuable. This connection is made possible thanks to the three key pillars of the app that translate into its main features.

Blog - Squishy - Character
Stimulating creative choices

From within the app, there is a wide selection of creative themes to choose from: “Under the Sea”, “Crazy Jungle”, “Starry Night”… This will be the start of their virtually augmented canvas. Once a theme is picked, users can decide to place, color and/or draw 3D objects or flat illustrations to decorate their room. By letting them rethink and redesign their physical environment, Squishy gives back young patients the empowerment they need in their daily reality.  

Nurturing communication

While they are at the hospital, children still get to maintain contact with their relatives via the app. Through a built-in chat function, young patients can receive and reply to messages, videos and images sent by their loved ones and fellow patients. They can even place those pictures inside their virtual environment. All in all, helping young patients to cope with the lack of contact thanks to enhanced exchange and interaction with others.

Softening the experience  

The app integrates in-app communication from Squishy that updates young patients on their upcoming treatment. When they have to go through challenging moments, they are also rewarded by seeing some features unlocked in the app. By keeping children informed, the app reinforces their feeling of empowerment as well as the connection with the hospital.


Blog - Squishy - iPad

As well as improving health, the patient experience is at the heart of every single healthcare institution.

By building an app that transcends the barriers between patient and hospital, game and health, imagination and reality, we created a platform where all stakeholders benefit from deeper connections. Ultimately, Squishy allows patients to feel in control of their recovery and the hospital to build meaningful relationships with the patients. Are you looking to strengthen your position as a patient-centered institution? Get in touch with us and let’s develop this project together. We’re there to make it happen.  

Mathias Bourgonjon

Mathias Bourgonjon

Creative Strategist

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