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New Game App Keeps Teens on Track Taking Their Asthma Medicine

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smartphone with asthma app

The game-based asthma app comes preloaded on each phone and uses characters based on popular TV shows the participants said they liked.

Credit: Christina Cala / Medill

Researchers at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago are testing a game-based asthma application designed for teenagers. The data has not been analyzed, but young people seem to be responding well, says Giselle Mosnaim, co-principal investigator for the study.

Rush worked with the University of Illinois at Chicago's Electronic Visualization Lab to develop the app and a battery-powered device that holds an inhaler. The device is designed to connect with a smartphone via Bluetooth and track every time the inhaler is used. When teens take the full dose in the correct time window, they get to shoot baskets in a basketball game. And when teens score, they get rewards, such as a gift certificate. The app has different incentives for different users as well as personal avatars to help keep users engaged.

Eventually, young people will get used to taking the medicine and will no longer need reminders from the app, Mosnaim notes. "The teenagers liked getting a phone, the app, the rewards, and they thought that this was helpful," she says. "It is my impression the study exceeded expectations because the teenagers were very honest. I understood not only what their behavior was but the reasons for their behavior too."

From Medill Reports
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Abstracts Copyright © 2013 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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