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Development of Pipoh - intelligent and customizable stuffed toy for hospital guidance to reduce anxiety and stress in hospitalized children


CleverCare is a framework for control, management and guidance of patients who need continuous medical care in an out-of-hospital environment. The CleverCare has a state machine, dialog management system, Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools, and integration with messages services, which allow communication with the patient through personalized and active text messages, providing a closer care, reducing that way the isolation of the patient when they are outside the health institution. In addition, the potential that has been explored in reducing isolation in the out-of-hospital environment, this project aims to explore the potential of CleverCare by reducing child in-hospital isolation through mitigation of stress and anxiety in the hospital environment. Hospitalization constitutes an unpleasant experience both for adults and mostly for children, who suddenly have to leave the familiar place of their home and the persons who are important for them, and stop their favorite activities (Koukourikos et al., 2015). In addition the child faces a period of anxiety and fears due to procedures which they are subjected and the impacts that this period of hospitalization can generate in their future. The objective of this project is to use CleverCare's automated monitoring potential to provide a greater care, mitigate the anxiety and stress of the child and their families, reduce pain perception, and instruct medical procedures through a hypoallergenic stuffed toy, the Pipoh, aiming the scenario of pediatric care and guidance in a playful way. For the operation of CleverCare along with a hypoallergenic stuffed toy, it will be necessary to develop applications for mobile devices capable of performing voice synthesis and processing, facial recognition and feelings analysis to make the communication with the child in a natural and customizable way, where dialogues can be modified based on the child's facial expression and emotion that is demonstrating. Pipoh is expected to be able to improve the experience and feelings of hospitalized children, making the hospital environment less hostile and threatening, ensuring that the child has greater comfort, reduced anxiety and decreased feelings of loneliness suffered during the hospitalization period. The child can interact directly with the Pipoh in flowing conversations in natural language through which it will be possible to support the child and to clear their doubts regarding the procedures. This support is important for the positive outcome of the patient's illness, as well as to decrease their fears and anxieties and to ease the hospitalization period. The potential impact of the solution on reducing hospital stress, protecting the child and giving instructions regarding procedures which the children will be submitted will be evaluated through a case control study that will be applied at Kidopi's partner hospital institutions, such as Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein. (AU)