Visiting any pediatric outpatient clinic as a child may be considered a stressful and anxiety-inducing experience. The literature suggests that positive distractions, such as pet therapy and single-user electronic devices, may aid in reducing anxiety and maximizing patient satisfaction throughout the patient’s experience at a pediatric outpatient clinic. The aim of this pilot quality improvement project was to determine which positive distractions patients experienced and whether single-user electronic loaner devices should be provided to patients at pediatric outpatient facilities. A quantitative causal comparative approach was utilized in identifying patient exposure to key positive distraction techniques that may significantly decrease anxiety. The independent variable was the patient gender as reported by the caretaker. The term “caretaker” refers to the adult parent, guardian, relative, or friend accompanying the patient. The dependent variables were caretakers’ responses to interview questions regarding exposure to and interest in various positive distractors. Most patients reported more interactions with therapy dogs than either clowns or musicians, with none reporting magician interaction while waiting for their appointments. Many patients (71%) demonstrated interest in having access to single-user electronics during clinic appointment wait times. Male patients showed great interest (87%) in having access to single-user electronics. Findings suggest that pediatric healthcare facilities funding single-user electronics to reduce patient anxiety may increase patient satisfaction. Additionally, data suggest administrators may benefit by offering an array of positive distractions, with a particular focus on pet therapy programs. Child life specialists are particularly suited for overseeing the implementation of an efficient and effective program.
This article is associated with the Innovation & Technology lens of The Beryl Institute Experience Framework (https://www.theberylinstitute.org/ExperienceFramework).
Ernest T, Maddex V, Mejias A, Davidson L, Ettel-Gambino D. Positively waiting: Technology as the preferred distractor in a pediatric outpatient setting. Patient Experience Journal. 2022; 9(1):193-199. doi: 10.35680/2372-0247.1579.