Got game? The Johns Hopkins Hospital's pediatric
hemodialysis unit now does.
The unit was recently outfitted with access to an
online network that will ultimately allow Hopkins pediatric
inpatients the ability to meet and play games such as Halo
and NBA LIVE with children at other hospitals via XBOX
Live, Microsoft's popular game console. The games' chat
modes allow them to communicate with their peers.
The network, which went live on May 27, is called the
Hospital-based Online Pediatric Environment, a research
initiative started by Arun Mathews, director of the HOPE
Connects Kids Foundation and a research fellow in the
School of Medicine's
Division of Health Sciences Informatics.
The children in the Johns Hopkins unit are those with
end-stage kidney disease who need to receive dialysis three
time a week — each session lasting for three hours
— for the rest of their lives, or until they receive
a transplant. The intent of the HOPE Network is to give
chronically ill children the opportunity to escape the
stresses inherent in their conditions by providing
distraction and comfort through gaming and peer contact.
The project will be piloted at Johns Hopkins until the end
of June. The ultimate goal is to take the network
nationwide and involve other children's medical centers.
In addition to Mathews, the project's principals are
Harold Lehman, an associate professor in the Division of
Health Sciences Informatics, and Susan Furth and Alicia
Neu, both associate professors in the
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