IT Science Case Study: Managing iPads to Cheer Up Kids in Hospitals

The Bungie Foundation wanted to help create better experiences for kids in the hospital by using iPads for entertainment. But manually setting up, wiping and re-enrolling devices was a long, tedious process. Here’s how it handled the problem.

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This is the latest article in a new feature series in eWEEK called IT Science, in which we look at what really happens at the intersection of new-gen IT and legacy systems.

Unless it’s brand new and right off various assembly lines, servers, storage and networking inside every IT system can be considered “legacy.” This is because the iteration of both hardware and software products is speeding up all the time. It’s not unusual for an app-maker, for example, to update and/or patch for security purposes an application a few times a month, or even a week. Some apps are updated daily! Hardware moves a little slower, but manufacturing cycles are also speeding up.

These articles describe new-gen industry solutions. The idea is to look at real-world examples of how new-gen IT products and services are making a difference in production each day. Most of them will be success stories, but there will also be others about projects that blew up. We’ll have IT integrators, system consultants, analysts and other experts helping us with these as needed.

Today’s Topic:  Managing iPads to Help Kids in Hospitals

This IT Science article was put together using firsthand information from The Bungie Foundation, which used Jamf to manage a number of iPads used to bring entertainment to children in hospitals.

Name the problem to be solved: The foundation wanted to help cheer up kids in the hospital through entertainment. That’s when they created the iPads for Kids program. But manually setting up, wiping and re-enrolling devices so they were ready for patient use was a long, tedious process. They needed a faster, more efficient way to manage their devices. Once managed, they also needed a streamlined way to deliver age-appropriate content to patients.

The conventional solution is for an anesthesiologist to give a child about to go into surgery a small dose of medication before the procedure. Hospitals are finding that this might not be necessary if the child is entertained beforehand by playing a video game on a portable device. See this video from a Fresno, Calif. television station.

Describe the strategy that went into finding the solution: After conducting loads of research into other mobile device management (MDM) solutions, the foundation’s senior director asked for a recommendation from an industry expert. Her contact at Apple told her to check out Jamf. Bungie discovered that Jamf’s comprehensive and well-documented API allowed for interesting and creative ways to provision devices based on age.

List the key components in the solution: The foundation uses Jamf’s integration with Apple’s device enrollment program for a streamlined enrollment process. They then use Jamf’s ability to push a custom enterprise app to the devices, while also locking them into Single App Mode. This displays a custom app that allows patients to select their age, which then communicates back to Jamf using the Jamf API. Based on the API feedback, Jamf uses smart groups to deliver age-appropriate, curated content to the device–all with no Apple ID required.

Describe how the deployment went, perhaps how long it took, and if it came off as planned:

Throughout the deployment process, the foundation worked closely with Jamf to automate the age-specific provisioning of devices to the point where it can scale to meet the needs of any size hospital--all without additional strain on IT, hospital administration or care teams. The success of the project meant The Bungie Foundation is now actively looking to expand its offering; it estimates that it will have iPads for kids in 12 hospitals by the end of 2018.

Describe the result, new efficiencies gained and what was learned from the project: Since implementing the iPads for Kids program, the Bungie Foundation estimates that it has helped more than 123,000 kids have a better experience while in the hospital. This is the direct result of how the right technology being paired with the best management solution can fulfill the mission of an organization to put patients at the center of their care.

Describe ROI, carbon footprint savings, and staff time savings, if any: Prior to implementing Jamf, the setup and enrollment process of each iPad was approximately one hour. After implementing Jamf, this was cut down to a mere five minutes per device. This meant the iPads for Kids coordinator had more time to invest in other initiatives that enhanced the patient experience. It also allowed more kids to benefit from the iPad for Kids offering because more devices were available for use each day. 

If you have a suggestion for an eWEEK IT Science feature, email cpreimesberger@eweek.com.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger

Chris J. Preimesberger is Editor-in-Chief of eWEEK and responsible for all the publication's coverage. In his 13 years and more than 4,000 articles at eWEEK, he has distinguished himself in reporting...