Chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and asthma are getting more and more common, already every fourth kid is battling with chronic disease. These are all very different but psychological issues are almost universal regardless of the type of chronic disease. Also, psychological problems themselves can have long-term health consequences and interfere with the treatment process of underlying chronic disease. We have developed an intervention strategy aimed to buffer negative psychological changes associated with chronic illness through an innovative mobile health platform.
In our mobile game, kids need to save the Triumfland city from the Disease Monster. Through this game we deliver our research-based content to monitor and support patients in a personalized manner. We have started from childhood cancer and are currently running clinical trials in two hospitals (Tartu University Hospital and Tallinn Chilren's Hospital in Estonia) to scientifically prove the effectiveness of the game on mental well-being and health-related quality of life. The game is designed with patients, their families and medical personnel in two countries (Finland and Estonia) in parallel. The game is available on the Android mobile operating system in English, Russian, Finnish and Estonian.
It is important that the big data from the game is analysed, consolidated and displayed to a dashboard for the care team. This helps with treatment monitoring, improves medical visit effectiveness and care team communication.
Our users are hospitals and we are looking for public and private pediatric hospitals/clinics in the region who are interested in 1) comprehensive care for patients and 2) improving care team communication.
Technology Features, Specifications and Advantages
We make it possible to create a healthier future for chronically ill children by giving them psychological support via a mobile game. Serious games (games designed for a specific purpose other than solely entertainment) have revolutionized the landscape of healthcare as games have the ability of placing the individual in the center of the action. Health-oriented games have been attracting growing attention, as they help to unlock the patient's autonomous motivational reserve and foster behavioral change that, in turn, has potential to improve the player’s health.
Our mobile health game is available upon request on Google Play (for Android), and is focussing on the following aspects:
- Mental health (profiling, monitoring, supporting)
- Treatment adherence
- Educating patients
- Teaching healthy behaviours
- Empowering patients
- Giving patients a sense of success
At the same time, the game has a focus on gameplay and narrative which makes the game engaging and fun for children. Health technology solutions need to be both effective but also attractive to users.
We collect data to implement machine learning for personalized paths and timely support in the game. Already now, we use Artificial Intelligence (AI) for several features in the game.
Hospitals aiming to achieve comprehensive care for their patients are our target. In our mobile health game, each patient has his/her own path based on the progress in the game, their diagnosis, psychological strengths and difficulties. It makes personalized care possible, and since the game can be used either independently by patients or in connection with a dashboard for the care team, it can be used either at home or in the hospital. The dashboard offers a comprehensive and visual real-time information for the care team regarding the patient's overall mental wellbeing, their reaction times and motorics which are indicative of how the treatment is affecting the patient, pain evaluation and localization etc.
The users are chronically ill children aged 7-14 including (but not limited to):
- Cancer patients
- Diabetes patients
- Asthma patients
- Obese/overweight children
We are currently in the middle of our clinical study to evaluate the effectiveness of the game on mental wellbeing and health-related quality of life (ongoing until the end of 2018). Based on previous studies, it can be estimated that health games induce behavioural change, which in turn has potential to improve patient health.
Moreover, it empowers and engages patients, offers them timely support and collects comprehensive data. This data generated from the game provides timely information on how the individual responds to treatment, processes information, and applies learnt skills. Thus, mobile health (mHealth) games are a valuable source of large amounts of user data which can be used to improve the application itself as well as for treatment planning and monitoring, and research purposes.