7 Immersive Designs That Improve the Patient Experience

7 Immersive Designs That Improve the Patient Experience

Children’s hospitals and health systems use multisensory displays and technology-driven artwork to create positive distractions for kids.

Visiting a hospital is stressful for children. A barrage of unfamiliar sights, sounds, smells, and sensations cause young patients anxiety and uncertainty. Many hospitals and health systems attempt to ward off patients’ feelings of fear with positive distractions, comfortable furniture, soothing colors, and soft lighting.

Advances in technology and design are taking those efforts to the next level. Hospitals are creating immersive environments to engage children in new ways during inpatient and outpatient visits. From interactive coloring walls to 3D projections to virtual reality-equipped treatment rooms, hospitals are easing the care process for children and their families.

Engaging patients while they wait

Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital features a highly engaging experience for patients in a lobby area. Children move and blend the vibrant colors using gesture-tracking technology that minimizes the potential for infections. The interactive wall was designed to encourage controlled, thoughtful movements that prevent overstimulation.

Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital. Photo: Dimensional Innovations 

An interactive coloring wall inside the Children’s Hospital of Orange County Children’s Heart Institute provides a hands-free, engaging activity for children waiting for appointments. Color fills the picture’s elements as young artists wave their hands in front of the screen.

Children’s Hospital of Orange County. Photo: Dimensional Innovations 

Welcoming patients with furry friends

A fully immersive experience greets children in the lobby of Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. “Loma Land” teems with animated creatures, lush plants, and the gentle sound of flowing water. Children use LCD screens to create their own animal companion that appears on the 60-foot-wide projection screen where the virtual forest comes to life.

Children adorn their animal companions with vivid colors and whimsical accessories like acorn hats and leaf masks. They spend a few minutes interacting with their new friends before releasing them to frolic in the forest with other children’s animal creations.

Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. Photo: NBBJ/ESI Design

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford features an interactive “seek-and-find” mural with animals and plants native to California. Children use an app-equipped tablet to create a 3D image of an animal while a narrator gives facts about the creature.

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta will include an interactive wall in the lobby of its new Arthur M. Blank Hospital when it opens in the fall of 2024. When a child approaches the colorful wall, sensory cameras activate, prompting the image of a unique animal to appear. The child will use motion to interact with the animal.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Bringing the zoo to patients’ rooms

Seneca Park Zoo animals visit patients at Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center via an innovative book that uses augmented reality codes to generate sounds and 3D images. The hospital collaborated with the zoo and Ricoh USA to create the book, “Sandy and Friends’ Virtual Zoo Adventure.”

The book includes illustrations and short descriptions of animals along with games and mazes. Children use a mobile device to scan codes that project animals’ images into their hospital rooms. As the image is projected, a member of the zoo’s staff reads an expanded description of the animal.

Golisano Children’s Hospital. Photo: Kiara Warren

Traveling the universe during chemo treatments

Children who receive chemotherapy at Golisano Children’s Health Center in Naples are transported to other worlds, thanks to a virtual reality-equipped infusion room. Floor-to-ceiling projections, sounds, and interactive elements combine to create an immersive experience for children during these lengthy treatments.

Children select a backdrop, such as outer space, a sandy beach, or an underwater adventure. They can also play video games, watch movies, or video chat with family and friends during their treatments. 

Golisano Children’s Health Center. Photo: Lee Health

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