An interactive “storybook” style app is making trips to Gold Coast University Hospital (GCUH) less daunting for children.

Kidz@GCU Hospital, which is based specifically on the GCUH experience, allows youngsters to follow the journey of six characters through a hospital visit and learn about procedures such as plaster casts and stitches, as well as X-rays, MRIs and CT scans.

Work on the app began in 2013 as part of the third-year project by Darcelle Hinze, Chelsea McGuinness, Ashley Burns and Belinda Rex from Griffith University’s School of Information and Communication Technology.

Calling themselves The Design Cellar, their app also aims to familiarise children with hospital locations, sounds and the medical staff they will meet along the way.

Gold Coast Health Director of Paediatrics, Associate Professor Susan Moloney, said the concept had been so well received that more tablets had been ordered for the Children’s Outpatient Unit to allow a greater number of patients to access the app while waiting for appointments.

“Children can often be nervous when visiting hospital, but this modern approach to breaking down barriers is proving a real winner with children and their parents,” she said.

“It’s one thing to tell an anxious child what their visit might involve, but for them to be able to access that information through the technology they love is wonderful.

“We embraced the concept as soon as it was proposed and the finished product has exceeded our expectations.”

Co-creator Darcelle Hinze said it was a joy to know an app that was built as part of a third-year ICT project was making a difference in the real world.

“Although GCUH was yet to open at the time, Gold Coast Health provided us with extensive access to its plans, which allowed us to replicate the look of the Children’s Outpatient Unit,” she said.

“That means children using the app in the waiting room are actually looking at the room they are sitting in, which also plays a major role in easing their tensions.”

Kidz@GCU Hospital won the Tertiary Undergraduate Student category at this year’s Queensland iAwards, with the Griffith team to contest the national awards in Melbourne next week.

The free application is available for both Android and iOS devices and can be found at Google Play and the App Store.

An expanded version with more interactivity and games is already in production.