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Mijn Buddy

Improving the patient experience for children at the paediatric acute medical unit

Author: Rochelle Simons (2018)

Supervisory team: Marijke Melles (mentor), Lianne Simonse (mentor), E. Elsbeek (mentor)

Partners: Vrouw-Kind Centrum, Amsterdam UMC, TU Delft

The VKC (Vrouw-Kind Centrum; Woman-Child Center of the AMC and VUmc alliance) is planning to build a Paediatric Acute Medical Unit (P-AMU) in the coming years, to reduce the disruption of daily life as a consequence of acute admissions of child patients. The aim of this project was to ‘‘Design a tool that improves the communication of child patients and parents with the healthcare system about the acute admission process, and that puts the children in control in a playful and understandable way, in order to make them feel less unsure and bored during the acute admission.”


Design research was conducted to fully understand the patient experience during the paediatric acute admission process, resulting in two identified main pain points: uncertainty and boredom. The patient journey clearly showed more fluctuation in patient’s emotions and more innovation opportunities at the Emergency Department (ED) in comparison to the paediatric nursing department. Therefore, improving the patient experience at the P-AMU already starts at the ED. 

An iterative design process was performed where child patients, medical professionals, and technical and design experts provided feedback from their perspective on the intermediate designs. 

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Mijn Buddy

‘Mijn Buddy’ is a digital application designed for children, aged 8-13 years old, that provides insights in order to reduce the uncertainty about the acute admission process, which will eventually lead to a better patient experience. The connection of ‘Mijn Buddy’ with EPIC, the digital patient record, makes sure the journey is personalized and adjusted to a patient’s individual situation. It helps child patients and parents to manage their expectation by providing information about what, who, where, and when things will happen. 


‘Mijn Buddy’ was evaluated positively with an interactive prototype with a number of child patients and (non-patient) children, as well as paediatricians and ED-doctors. ‘Mijn Buddy’ increased the knowledge about an acute admission for appendicitis and children perceived it as fun, easy to use, and valuable to know what to expect and when. 

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