Corporation Pop receives funding from Nominet Trust for augmented reality hospital app

Nominet Trust has awarded Corporation Pop £50,000 through its seventh round of Social Tech Seed funding. The award will enable the Manchester-based digital agency to further develop their Patient’s Virtual Guide, an innovative mobile app that accompanies child patients through the hospital system, improving the patient experience by providing relevant information at every point of the journey.

More than 2 million children are admitted to NHS hospitals for planned treatment every year, but provision of information to prepare them for the experience is poor. However, research shows that patients equipped with prior knowledge about their treatment, experience reduced stress and anxiety, leading to quicker recovery and improved clinical outcomes.

Corporation Pop’s ‘Patient’s Virtual Guide’ app fills that gap with an avatar guide that accompanies the child patient through the healthcare system, improving their experience by providing relevant information, delivered in a fun and engaging way, through the journey. Using gamification, augmented reality and artificial intelligence, the app provides a friendly ally that helps demystify the process and puts the patient in control.

Corporation Pop have been developing the project for almost 2 years. Last year they received funding from TITCH, an NHS technology network dedicated to the development of technology solutions to help improve children’s healthcare. This enabled them to work with user experience specialists, Sutherland Labs, to evaluate a prototype app with clinicians, parents and patients at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospitals. Now, with Nominet Trust’s help, they can build on the results of Sutherland Labs’ user research and move a stage closer to bringing the app to market. Sutherland Labs, one of the UK’s foremost user experience research companies, provided their services free of charge in support of the project.

Peter-Marc Fontane, Associated Clinical Head at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (and Corporation Pop’s Clinical Consultant) had this to say: “I have yet to show this pilot app to anyone, of any age, who has not positively engaged with it, suggesting that this technology has the potential to greatly improve the healthcare experience for people of all ages across the NHS (and beyond)”.

Dom Raban, Corporation Pop’s Managing Director, added: “This is a very personal project for me. In 2011, my then 13 year old daughter was diagnosed with cancer. Her journey through the NHS system was characterised by a lack of information at every stage of the process, which left her with a deep mistrust of the medical system. Thankfully, my daughter will soon be celebrating five years cancer free, but the experience left me wanting to use my professional capacity to respond to the problem and find a technology solution that could meet the information needs of young people about to embark on an often traumatic and stressful solution. With this fantastic support from Nominet Trust, we can now begin the next crucial stage of development”.

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust, added: “Too many children and young people feel traumatised by the prospect of going into hospital, which, research shows, can reduce their chances of recovery. Patient’s Virtual Guide uses an interactive game format to take the fear away, letting users explore the hospital and ask questions in a safe, virtual space. We’re delighted to support this innovative approach to patient wellbeing”.

Corporation Pop is one of eight social tech enterprises that have been selected by Nominet Trust to take part in its Social Tech Speed programme. Social Tech Seed is an open grant-funding programme that offers entrepreneurial organisations early-stage investment to develop innovative projects harnessing the power of the internet and digital technologies to deliver significant social change. It has supported 40 organisations through its six cohorts to date. Previous grantees include:

  • Open Bionics, who use the latest 3D body scanning and printing technology to create bionic hands that are lightweight, take five days to build and cost just £2,000.
  • Alice.si, an online platform harnessing blockchain technology to make charitable giving transparent, restoring trust in charities.

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