Taking the kids to their doctor’s appointments may become easier – and a lot more fun – as the National Institutes of Health (NIH) seeks to turn pediatric onboarding into a video game with real-life rewards.

NIH is looking for a “fun, informative and interactive” platform to introduce new pediatric patients and visitors to the NIH Clinical Center (NIHCC) in Bethesda, Md. Users will be able to customize avatars and, in a game-like setting, explore the facilities, programs, and medical procedures available at NIHCC.

Available on iOS, Android, PC, and tablet, NIH hopes that the gamified app will “improve enrollment, treatment completion, and trial efficacy” of the approximately 1,500 clinical research studies that NIHCC currently conducts. The game play will involve traveling between key hospital locations, with age appropriate games for the target audience between ages six and 18 years old.

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For example, the app will include information on most NIHCC services, from clinics to library services for patients, and the procedures and tests patients might undergo as a part of their treatment.

The app will even offer offline rewards for completion of certain tasks. NIH wrote in the April 24 solicitation that the real-life “gift items” are still to be decided, but noted that the prizes will be rewarded on a point-based system.

The app developer must comply with certain privacy legislation, such as the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act and the Health and Human Services Privacy Act, but NIH wrote that no personally identifiable information will be collected from users.

NIH plans to begin development of the app around May 30. The developer should be able to provide continuous updates, but the minimum viable product will include one avatar with two clothing and hair changes, two treatment rooms, two challenges, and two navigation options. NIH is accepting responses to the solicitation through May 8.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.