The Mobile Health Competition is now closed, but the journey is just beginning for the winning idea.
Between 2006 and 2008, cancer affected approximately 2000 teenagers in the UK.(1) These are people as young as 15 years old, battling and living with cancer, while going through one of the toughest periods in any person’s life – the teenage years.
There may not be a “typical” patient, but one recurring theme among teenage cancer sufferers is a feeling of loneliness, of fear, an overwhelming sense of isolation. For this reason, eyeforpharma launched the Mobile Health Competition 2012 with a group of partner organisations well versed in the unmet needs of youngsters with cancer- including The Teenage Cancer Trust, European Cancer Patient Coalition and the I’m Too Young For This! Cancer Foundation. The competition highlighted the lack of mobile applications available to teenage cancer patients, and asked the online community to submit their ideas on how best to address this problem, with the opportunity to develop the winning concept.
Through their work at Life, Marianne Lynch (Art Director), Dimuthu Jayawardana (Copywriter) and Faisal Ahmed (Head of Digital) were aware of the role digital media can play in patient support and communication, as well as some of the challenges faced by patients. Smartphones and mobile devices have huge potential in terms of capability, but are often not used to their full extent. This competition was an opportunity to exploit all that mobile technology has to offer, in a way that will genuinely impact people’s lives.
The intention from the outset was to develop an app that enabled teenage cancer patients to be teenagers first, and cancer patients second. The app should have a host of features to help the teens with their daily lives, while being fun and engaging – providing them with a source of entertainment during the long periods away from their normal lives.
With features such as the diary, journal and notes – users can set reminders, or create memories at a time when their short-term memory may be below par. As their phone is always with them, the app can act as a perpetual reminder service, wherever they are.
However, the key driving feature behind the app was the need to combat the sense of isolation felt by this population. Through the “Superhero Friend Finder”, users can meet other people just like them, whether they are in the next ward, or 400 miles away. What’s more, the user can find the answer to almost any question they have – either through the instant messaging feature, or through the forums where people across the world can respond to the questions. Users will find that there is always someone there for them, whenever they need them, wherever they are.
Once the users have made new “Superhero” friends, what better way to pass the time, than playing games? With Superhero Me! users can play online chess, scrabble or word games with their new found friends all over the world. There’s a competitive side in almost everyone, and by using the app more and more, the user can gain more “Superpowers” and can use them to their advantage in this section.
After making the final 3 in the competition, following public voting which saw almost 4,000 votes cast, Superhero Me! was chosen by the judging panel as the overall winner of the eyeforpharma Mobile Health Competition 2012. The judges were all closely linked to the patient population; either as teenage cancer survivors themselves, or through the work they do with young people.
As the winning entry, the team at Life were awarded $5000 US Dollars to donate to a charity of their choice. A donation that went to Cancer Research UK to help further their research and understanding.
The team are now hard at work, determined to make Superhero Me! a reality! To keep up to date with their progress, sign up here: http://www.eyeforpharma.com/mobilehealth/keep-updated.php
1: http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/incidence/age/#Teenagers [Accessed February 2012]
Petteri Jarkka, Customer Engagement Manager at Janssen Nordic, talks to eyeforpharma about how the...
New findings suggest that if recent steps taken by the CIS countries are seen through to completion...
EU citizens are unable to afford life-saving medication due to ongoing cuts and austerity measures...