AWS Public Sector Blog

Bringing the power of play to hospitalized children

As COVID-19 has heightened hospital visitation restrictions, AWS will donate games and streaming platform Playwell to hospitals across the U.S. starting with Seattle Children’s Hospital

Snapshot of the Playwell platform

Snapshot of the Playwell platform

Taylor Carol was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 11 years old. He spent the next five years in hospitals during his cancer battle, including several months in the hospital isolation unit. Separated from the world and unable to participate in everyday childhood activities, Taylor found joy in video games.

This memory and the desire to give back drove Taylor and his dad Jim to found GameChanger Charity, a nonprofit using tech and innovation to ease the pain of kids dealing with life-threatening illnesses through games and streaming.

Hospitalization can be an isolating and stressful experience. This is especially true now, as the pandemic has led hospitals to impose even stricter visitation and distancing procedures. To help make kids’ stays a bit brighter, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is teaming up with GameChanger Charity to donate GameChanger’s patient engagement platform, Playwell, for one year to select hospitals across the U.S. We are starting with Seattle Children’s Hospital—a hospital that Taylor spent considerable time in during his battle with cancer—and will announce additional hospitals in the coming weeks and months. With this donation, we hope to bring entertainment and joy to anywhere from 75 to 200 kids per day per hospital.

Studies have shown that children who have the opportunity to socialize with media, games, and technology during their hospital stay experience less pain, discomfort, and anxiety. Age-specific media and digital engagements can also help with distraction therapy when undergoing a procedure, allowing kids to focus on something else while undergoing the treatment. We see an opportunity for technology to fill an important need for hospitalized kids, especially now given stricter social distancing rules across the country.

Playwell, which is built entirely on AWS, provides children access to pre-selected age appropriate content including games, videos, music, movies, and streaming content. Patients and their families can watch informative content about their conditions or procedures, interact with other hospital patients, develop new skills and passions, and mentally escape their health condition through entertaining and engaging content. The Playwell platform can also be provisioned to provide virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences.

We are committed to supporting healthcare providers in their mission to build healthier communities. In conjunction with this donation, AWS will donate Amazon Fire tablets to the hospitals, which they can provision with Playwell for this purpose or use however they are most needed within each hospital.

Since it was established in 2007, the GameChanger Charity team, using Playwell technology, has visited over 450 hospitals in three countries and the organization has donated over $18 million in scholarships, technology, and gifts to kids.

Learn more about how GameChanger Charity uses AWS cloud technology to serve their mission.