Areej El-Jawahri, MD
MIP | 2017

When patients are first diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, they’ve often visited the hospital thinking they have the flu but end up urgently admitted for 4-6 weeks of intensive inpatient treatment. Not surprisingly, isolation and depression are major issues for this patient population, who often report feeling as if they’ve been kidnapped. Moreover, although AML is highly treatable, these patients also have a disproportionately high misunderstanding of their prognosis; as one patient reported, “I was terrified and overwhelmed with information.”

Dr. Areej El-Jawahri and her team saw an urgent need to bridge inpatient psychology support resources with an intervention that could both teach patients about their diagnosis while simultaneously conveying basic cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to manage their stress. A year and a half later, an iPad game, entitled “DreAMLand,” is halfway through a multi-site controlled trial and is being submitted for FDA approval as a digital therapeutic. Early results have been overwhelmingly positive and the nurses on the unit have enjoyed using the game as a communication tool with patients.