Gamified digital health solution for people with multiple sclerosis

Researchers from the University of Oulu aim to help people with multiple sclerosis self-manage their condition by using a new evidence-based digital application.

More Stamina is a research project where a multidisciplinary team will investigate the challenges that targeted solutions for chronic conditions face, and will explore their potential value for patients and healthcare providers. At the same time, the project is creating a setup where commercialization of such solutions would be feasible.

‘We are exploring how can digital health solutions survive beyond “laboratory” conditions. In general, most of these digital health innovations tend to exist either as a project that gets funded by grants and then stops existing once the funding is over or as some startup that is trying to find out how to make ends meet. Our project looks at this issue asking two questions: How do we integrate these solutions to the healthcare system? How can these solutions become sustainable on their own?,’ said Dr. Guido Giunti from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Oulu.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the world’s most common neurologic disorders in young adults. More than 12,000 Finns live with this condition and almost 3 million in the whole world. MS affects females 3 times more than males, and it affects them in the most productive moment of their lives. The course of MS is varied and unpredictable, often leading people with MS to accumulate a large number of disabilities. People with MS suffer a wide range of symptoms like fatigue, altered sensation, cognitive and mental health problems and even physical mobility issues. Fatigue is the most common, frustrating, overwhelming, and often disabling symptom for people with MS.

The clinical tests with real patients will start soon in several countries. Researchers expect the first tests to start during the first half of 2021. In Finland co-operative partner for the clinical tests is Oulu University Hospital but there are also several international institutions working in this project: Hospital Italiano de Buenos Aires (Argentina), Universidad de Sevilla (Spain), Fundación DINAC (Spain), Hospital Nithas Visa (Spain), and Kliniken Valens (Switzerland).

More Stamina uses gamification elements to facilitate engagement and represent difficult concepts like how much “energy” a person has. A person’s overall energy for the day is represented through a visual metaphor in which a progress bar shows how many Stamina Credits, the person has left. Each day starts with a clean list so that the persons with MS can be more intentional about the things they want to accomplish.

More Stamina is a self-management tool designed to help people with MS manage their energy. The app uses wearable sensors and context information to generate personalized recommendations so that people with MS learn how to deal with their fatigue and have a better quality of life. More Stamina uses the anonymized data it collects to explore also hidden patterns and characteristics of living with MS, so that new ways of helping patients can be created.

Read more information about this project on the University of Oulu’s website.

Source: The University of Oulu