BOSTON and NEW YORK, Feb. 28, 2018 — Boston Children’s Hospital and Klick Health today unveiled the HealthVoyager™ medical education and patient experience platform – a Proof of Concept that uses Virtual Reality (VR) technology to bring patients’ individual medical findings to life in an immersive, 3D environment. The first iteration of the tool, HealthVoyager™ GI, has been designed for pediatric gastrointestinal (GI) patients and is being used at Boston Children’s as part of a clinical study to validate its effect on patient and family understanding, engagement, and satisfaction.
By integrating into the clinical workflow of endoscopic procedures such as colonoscopies, HealthVoyager™ GI will enable Boston Children’s gastroenterologists to custom-configure life-like, 3D anatomical imagery and take pediatric patients with conditions such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis on iPhone-based virtual tours of their GI tract. Aimed at creating an impactful, engaging, and memorable experience, the platform leverages modern technology to communicate a patient’s personalized conditions and endoscopic findings.
Boston Children’s performs thousands of endoscopic procedures each year. Of the 1.6 million Americans with inflammatory bowel disease, as many as 80,000 of them are children, according to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
Helping patients visualize their disease
Traditionally, gastroenterologists share endoscopy and colonoscopy findings with patients and their families using print outs that become part of a patient’s medical record following the procedure. These clinical documents are highly text-based, written in medical language, some with static thumbnail images and are designed for medical documentation, not necessarily patient understanding.
“Putting myself in a nine-year-old’s shoes, I can see HealthVoyager™ being a more fun and valuable way to learn about and share complicated information like endoscopic findings,” said Michael Docktor, MD, a pediatric gastroenterologist who co-developed the tool and Clinical Director of Innovation at Boston Children’s Innovation & Digital Health Accelerator. “We hypothesize that the more children and their families can visualize and understand their disease, the more likely they may be to communicate when they have a particular symptom and adhere to their therapies.”
Taking a Cue from Precision Medicine
HealthVoyager™ also takes a cue from Precision Medicine – the personalization of drug therapy and genomics for effective disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment – and aims to create Precision Education opportunities for patients and their families. Boston Children’s Chief Innovation Officer John Brownstein, PhD, explained, “When you think about the care path of a patient journey, every aspect of that journey can be customized, including education. To ensure the best possible patient experience, Precision Education needs to be part of the Precision Medicine conversation as we create the future of healthcare.”
HealthVoyager™ consists of three components: the healthcare provider (HCP) frontend application, the patient mobile application, and an intermediary web service that ties the two together. The platform is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and is being developed to be accessible from within a hospital’s electronic medical record (EMR) systems to protect the privacy and security of patient health information and ensure clinical adoption and sustainability. It runs on iOS; Android compatibility will be available on future versions.
Virtual Reality: On the frontier of healthcare
Yan Fossat, VP of Klick Labs at Klick Health and lead on this first of its kind project said the healthcare industry is on the frontier of new opportunities through VR. “Hospitals have started using VR in healthcare, most notably, to distract hospital patients as part of pain management. That’s important but it’s only scratching the surface of what’s possible in patient care. Customizable patient education experiences like HealthVoyager™ have the potential to directly impact the course of a patient’s illness in a major way.”
How HealthVoyager™ GI Works:
At the Physician Level
1. The physician inputs the clinical findings of a patient’s endoscopy and/or colonoscopy onto a proprietary web interface that customize the upper and lower GI tract digital illustrations on the platform. Using drag-and-drop functionality, the physician can accurately place polyps, ulcers, bleeding, and other conditions precisely where they are found during the actual procedure(s).
2. The physician clicks to generate the patient report and bring the clinical findings to life in a customized 3D anatomical virtual reality experience.
3. The tool automatically generates a PDF report with unique patient QR code to share with the patient and family.
At the Patient Level
4. The patient/family scans the custom QR code using their mobile phone to access their personalized HealthVoyager™ experience.
5. The patient creates their personalized avatar on the app.
Using VR clip-on glasses, Google Cardboard, or another VR headset, the patient clicks to start their own customized VR tour inside their GI digestive tract, traveling through their upper and lower GI regions in 3D to see an accurate representation of what their doctor(s) saw during their procedure(s). For added context, they can also compare their unique findings of their GI tract with a tour of an unaffected patient’s procedure.
Developed as part of a collaborative innovation partnership between Klick and Boston Children’s Innovation & Digital Health Accelerator, HealthVoyager™ GI is the subject of a clinical study at the hospital. It is being measured against the current standard of care with regard to patient/parent satisfaction, engagement, and disease/findings awareness levels. Klick and Boston Children’s are also exploring the expansion of the platform to other disease states, anatomical areas, and patient types.
For more information on HealthVoyager™ GI and to view a video of the platform being used in-hospital, visit http://www.voyager.health.
About Boston Children’s Hospital
Boston Children’s Hospital, the primary pediatric teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center. Its discoveries have benefited both children and adults since 1869. Today, more than 3,000 scientists, including nine members of the National Academy of Sciences, 17 members of the National Academy of Medicine and 11 Howard Hughes Medical Investigators comprise Boston Children’s research community. Founded as a 20-bed hospital for children, Boston Children’s is now a 415-bed comprehensive center for pediatric and adolescent health care. For more, visit our Vector and Thriving blogs and follow us on social media @BostonChildrens, @BCH_Innovation, Facebook and YouTube.
About Klick Health
Klick Health is the world’s largest independent health marketing and commercialization agency. Klick is laser-focused on creating solutions that engage and educate healthcare providers about life-saving treatments and help inform and empower patients to manage their health and play a central role in their own care. Every solution hinges on Klick’s in-house expertise across the commercial universe—strategy, creative, analytics, instructional design, user experience, relationship marketing, social and mobile. Klick Labs helps life science organizations advance healthcare through the application of emerging concepts and technologies. Part of the Klick family of companies, the company was established in 1997 and has teams in Atlanta, Connecticut, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, San Francisco, and Toronto. Klick has been recognized for having one of the top 10 intranets in the world and has been consistently named a Great Place to Work, Best Workplace for Women, Best Employer, Fastest Growing Technology Company, and Best Managed Company. For more information go to Klick.com and follow @KlickHealth on Twitter.