Seattle Children's surgeon creates Minecraft-inspired virtual hospital for patients to tour

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When hospital visitations were first limited at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Henry Ou, MD, a surgeon at Seattle Children's Hospital, got creative with a new way to make patients comfortable with the facilities: a Minecraft version of the hospital. 

Over the past 18 months, Dr. Ou has taken thousands of videos and pictures around the hospital to design a Minecraft version of the building, according to a Sept. 10 Seattle Children's Hospital blog post. Minecraft is a popular video game that lets players virtually explore a 3D world with different environments and terrain. 

"Before the pandemic, our Child Life team used to offer hospital tours so families knew what to expect prior to arriving here," Dr. Ou said. "When the tours stopped, I tried to think of a way to reduce the fear and anxiety by offering a virtual experience. My son plays Minecraft, so that inspired me, too." 

Dr. Ou used hospital floor plans andthe videos and photos he's gathered to recreate the virtual hospital, which showcases individualized rooms and in-brand colors. He's currently working with the hospital digital health team to make the customized Minecraft hospital accessible via in-room iPads and at home for prospective patients.

 

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