The London St Bartholomew's Hospital recently has been provided with an internal network of multimedia PCs at its children's unit. According to The Times, the children's charity, Express Link, has invited a group of IT suppliers including Microsoft, Gremlin, Mind Kind and BT Syntegra to set up this intranet in order to run interactive software for education and entertainment as well as e-mail. The possibility of communication between St Bartholomew's intranet and similar projects in Derby and Sheffield already has been envisaged.
From now on, sick children staying at St Bartholomew's are able to mix business with pleasure. The days spent in lonely isolation, cut off from school, games and friends are finally over. The new intranet presents a variety of learning software such as literacy games, science projects and even a virtual chemistry set, offered by the National Association for the Education of Sick Children. And there is still more to it, as The Times reports.
Children recover faster with computers drawing away their attention from pain. American research as well as the current STARBRIGHT World Network initiative in the USA have proven that ailing children need fewer drugs as painkillers if they are offered the chance to communicate with each other by means of the computer. Therefore, the St Bartholomew's project includes a special bio-feedback program from Ultra Group, which controls the little patient's stress levels allowing only progress through its game by the child becoming more relaxed.
Finally, The Times has announced that Pat Ryan, founder of Express Link, is raising funds at present to establish a helpdesk for the intranet. The ideal providers of advice for this helpdesk would be disabled people who can work from home. Find out more about the benefits of computer networking for sick children in VMW's STARBRIGHTarticle in our issue of last December 1997.