Character Communications

Character Communications

A primary focus of this project is to improve communication between health care providers and hospital inpatients and empower patients in regards to their health decisions and care choices.

Some of the most notable gaps found in patient/provider communication:

  • Patients understanding their illness or treatment
  • Healthcare professionals using clinical or medical jargon
  • Patients being comfortable with questioning clinicians
  • Providers listening to their patients
  • Patients understanding treatment options
  • Patients being given resources for education
  • Patients having access to support (not from a medical professional or provider)

The messaging within the game will be presented in friendly and non-clinical terms, unless the patient chooses to learn more about clinical definitions.

Examples:

A patient has recently found out that they have a form of cancer, and the doctor begins explaining the complicated treatment process. The patient is under stress due to the recent diagnosis, and they are then expected to clearly interpret medical jargon. While the doctor may give the patient an opportunity to ask questions at the end of the consultation, it is highly likely that the patient will be overwhelmed. This is a scenario that could be a common recurrence throughout their treatment. SimStay will encourage a patient to ask questions about their treatment and become active participants in their care.

As noted in various research notes during the course of this project, patients can find it difficult to question their healthcare provider, but there are a number of benefits to empowering patients. SimStay will use repetition to communicate that patients are encouraged to ask questions and participate in their care.

The messaging will be very casual and will not include medical jargon. The purpose of SimStay is to get patients comfortable speaking with the healthcare providers and others about their treatment if they choose. This is not to say that patients will be encouraged to disclose information that they otherwise would be uncomfortable sharing, but will hopefully get them thinking about how to explain their feelings and concerns.

The characters within the game will speak to the patients through the game in a very informal and personal manner. The messages will avoid the use of formal language and greetings to help put the patients at ease. This will hopefully translate from the virtual world of SimStay and make patients more comfortable with hospital employees.

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