A new mobile game concept demonstrates how apps and wearable technology can help deliver personalised health management.
Undergraduate medical students at Imperial College London have created a game concept for smartphones that uses gamification to help people to stop smoking. The proposed app, called Quit Genius, incorporates elements of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) to deliver personalised behavioural support to those wanting to quit tobacco.
According to Imperial, Quit Genius features fun challenges, incentives and messages delivered by an animated virtual doctor, aiming to help smokers change the way they think about smoking and stay committed to their goal. The gaming aspect of the app would encourage people to use it, while the CBT element would encourage people to quit smoking.
Yusuf Sherwani, who led the team behind Quit Genius, commented: “As medical students, almost every day we are exposed to patients who are suffering from the consequences of smoking cigarettes; many of whom want to quit but lack the necessary support. We really hope this app takes off and transforms the support available to them.”
The students are now seeking technical and financial support to develop the app prototype and bring it onto the market.
Sherwani added: “The theory that underpins gamification is versatile and could potentially be extended to helping people achieve other lifestyle changes such as losing weight.”
Dr. Sanjay Agrawal, consultant lung specialist and chair of the British Thoracic Society’s Tobacco Special Advisory Group, said: “This is a really interesting prototype and we look forward to seeing further developments of the game and research about its effectiveness.
“I like the idea of combining cognitive behavioural theory with the power of fun in a stop smoking game. Its other potential benefits are its cost effectiveness and sheer reach by using smartphone technology. We’ll await further results with interest.”