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Using Serious Games and PHRs to mPower College Students in Managing their Health

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R43RR031350-01
Agency Tracking Number: RR031350
Amount: $224,997.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: NCRR
Solicitation Number: PHS2010-2
Solicitation Year: 2010
Award Year: 2010
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
WisdomTools Enterprises, INC. 501 N MORTON ST, STE 206
United States
DUNS: 090171328
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (812) 856-4202
Business Contact
Phone: (812) 856-4202
Research Institution

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The health situation of American college students is deteriorating, posing a national health challenge in the near and long term. To counter this trend, we need to creatively engage them in their personal health issues and provide them with skills and tools to support ongoing health self-management. This Phase I proposal seeks to do this through a unique model of health self-efficacy development, mPower , which is based on experiential learning via the use of serious health games, personal health information (PHI) via existing Personal Health Records (PHR), and an online tool to support self-management strategies. Working within the emerging patient-provider collaborative paradigm of health care, we will design games that focus on self-efficacy, rather than the transfer of knowledge. Our guiding principles are derived from Dewey's theory of motivation, emotional arousal, self-efficacy, and personalization. Serious health games will be used to engage students, perhaps even those not interested in their health, in scenarios relating to real college experiences (e.g., spring break, frat parties), The games will facilitate use of students' existing PHRs as well as online tools and resources that help students assess and more effectively manage their health. To test the feasibility and validity of the mPower approach, in Phase I we will work with college freshman, campus health care providers, and subject matter experts in health and games for health to design, develop, and evaluate: 1) the overall mPower model, which is based on health self-efficacy through experiential learning and self-management, 2) two prototype game modules (on stress reduction and sexual behaviors), and 3) use of PHRs and online self-management tools and resources. Additionally, we will assess pre-/post-test gains in engagement and learning related to health issues, health risks, knowledge and use of PHRs and other health resources, and health behavior (i.e., setting proximal goals). The findings and outcomes of Phase I will guide the design and development in Phase II of six other game modules that will be designed for context-based delivery (e.g., student location, calendar events) and will be integrated technically with specific linkages among games and PHRs, as well as online tools to support risk assessment. Also, a User Guide will be provided to support customization of mPower for use at other universities and provide recommendations to address barriers (e.g., technical and privacy-related). Preliminary feedback and letters of support from six major universities validated the great market potential for this product among the population of twenty million college students in the U.S. Based on evidence from previous studies of self-management practices; we anticipate significant outcomes in terms of student engagement and understanding of health issues. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This project targets college students - an increasingly at-risk, but commonly overlooked population of about twenty million - with the aim of engaging them in self-management through an enhanced understanding of health issues, behaviors, and risks. To this end, the project will develop, design, and evaluate the mPower health model, a suite of experience-based serious health games, as well as the integration of Personal Health Records and online tools to support health self-management within this intervention.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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