A study has shown that a mobile game can be used to collect symptom data from children undergoing cancer treatment, and could also be used to provide personalized management of their care.
This is the conclusion of a small US study on the role of Color Me Healthy, a game application developed through a collaboration between children, game designers and clinical staff.
It was used to collect self-reported data on eight common cancer-related symptoms – including pain, fatigue, nausea/vomiting and mouth sores – in a group of 19 children aged 6 to 12 who had received chemotherapy for cancer.
The game elements are configured into four daily goals and are interspersed with questions to help gather symptom data, such as “what bothers you the most today?” and “what’s the best thing about today?”.
Goals included daily tasks like brushing teeth, exercising, and completing a learning activity, as well as treatment-oriented tasks like taking medication, a diary, and a sketchbook are included in the set. app to allow children to use their own ways of relating symptoms and experiences.
The children in the study completed a median of four days of using the app, with all 19 subjects providing quantitative data about their symptoms at least once. 12 of them also described symptoms and aspects of their cancer treatment and symptoms in responses to questions and in diary entries.
Among the findings were that symptoms associated with chemotherapy persisted between treatment cycles, at a time when side effects are often assumed to be “minimal or absent,” according to the researchers.
It also revealed that children find implanted devices such as ports for administering medication particularly inconvenient, although the perceived wisdom is that patients prefer them because they are more discreet and require less daily care.
They conclude that the study shows the feasibility of using a mobile game approach to generate self-reported data in primary school-aged children, and some indications that it could be used to guide management and – potentially at least – improve symptoms.
Each of the subjects reported at least one symptom of moderate or higher severity that would likely require intervention for almost a third of the days they used the app
“This study…provides insight into how clinicians can use children’s self-reported data, whether provided via an app or verbally, as part of a person-centered approach to assessment and management. symptoms”, write researchers from the Journal of Pediatric Nursing.
“Helping clinicians develop conversational skills that go beyond asking the child how they are feeling can also advance child-centered approaches to care and enable clinicians to identify targets for intervention. achievable.”