w EMPOWERING: Give patients ownership of their treatment journey.
w FAMILIAR: Create an environment that is welcoming and friendly.
w DEPENDABLE: Build trust between patients and the institution.
w SHARED EXPERIENCE: Unite patients, their families, and staff.
From these principles, we created Forest Friends, a magical environment
of interactive interventions that support a patient during three stressful way-points on their journey: the Pediatric Waiting Room, the Exam Room, and the
Anesthesia Induction Room.
In the Pediatric Waiting Room, patients are empowered to choose an
animal companion (by selecting a fun, colored bracelet) to join them for the
day. Scanning the bracelet brings one of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital
characters to life—for example, a pink bunny who hops onto the screen
and waves to greet you. You can ask her to follow you to the Exam Room
or elsewhere, and she interacts with the magical environment and other
creatures in fun and unexpected ways. The bunny models patient behavior,
being playful when there is time for distraction—for example, when wait
times for treatment time are long, or when waiting for a doctor to enter an
exam room. Parents and staff can trigger certain reactions from the Forest
Friend, like sitting quietly and listening, or waving goodbye and beckoning
patients to follow, which all help ease a child’s transition from one space to
another. In the Anesthesia Induction Room, an animal companion simply
yawns, drifts to sleep, and dreams big dreams, giving the young patient a
scene to focus on while falling asleep.
Each environment is designed to be interactive on two levels. The first is
simply engaging and playing with a Forest Friend, an experience designed
for younger patients. And second, the environment itself can change. Older
patients can take control of the forest itself by planting trees in the waiting
room or changing the color of the exam room. Because patients return for
treatment daily, sometimes for weeks, the environment itself is generative
and transforms every day, presenting new vegetation, background colors,
and environments both familiar and new. We wanted to provide a depend-
able experience that patients could count on during their treatment and have
something to look forward to.
By building experiences for different personas—a 5-year-old in treatment,
the mother of the patient, a 15-year-old sibling, and a staff member—we
discovered that positive patient distraction would allow parents to feel less
stressed, and staff to perform their jobs more effectively. In addition, it is our
ambition to make children feel calmer as they enter treatment, which can
result in a reduced need for anesthesia during treatment. Less anesthesia
means less risk, and best of all, less risk means better patient outcomes.
Since launching in early 2015, Forest Friends has become integral to the
activities of the Wexner Medical Center, most importantly in its connection
with ‘the bell.’ Traditionally, when patients finished a course of treatment, they
would ring a bell that resounds in celebration. Potion built upon this tradition
with Forest Friends by designing an interactive bell, that when rung causes a
ripple effect of celebration across all animal friends and their environments.
To create Forest Friends, Potion deployed our experience with museum
and institutional environments in a new setting, healthcare—where the effects
of interactive technologies not only delight our users, but have transformative
effects on what matters most: our health.
Phillip Tiogson is the principal and Holly Houghton is a producer at Potion
Design, a studio that crafts technology into intuitive, interactive experiences.
30 INTERIORS & SOURCES JULY 2015 interiorsandsources.com
➤ continued from page 28
We asked ourselves: How can we generate
an interior design intervention that
could help patients aged three to 18 endure a
treatment that would help save their lives?
CLOCKWISE FROM LEFT Forest
Friends join and comfort
patients along three
phases of their journey:
in the Pediatric Waiting
Room, Exam Room, and
Anesthesia Induction Room.