Background: Virtual environments have proved to be successful for educational purposes in different fields. Multimedia applications might be used to consolidate and internalize informations and behavioral strategies in type 1 diabetic children.
Aim: In the last years our Diabetology Division and the Department of Informatics co-created many multimedia applications (edutainments, virtual environments, role serious games, electronic diary smartphone apps, and tutorial teaching).
Methods: In Treasure Hunter young users (8/12 years) are trained to control the balance between energy/physical activity. The player learns that physical activity causes energy consumption and energy stocks must be periodically renewed. The energy available increases and decreases in relation to the care that he/she has in balancing supply (a correct diet) and physical activity. Diabetland is an open simulator game (virtual 3D world) in which 12/14-year-old patients become familiar with terms commonly used when discussing diabetes, learn to choose healthy foods and follow a correct diet. The game is structured in different levels: the player has to complete the mission before proceeding to the next level. With Diabetes diary, app for Android/Iphone, 13/15-year-old patients can record glycaemic values and communicate them to their physician in real time. Hyper/hypoglycaemic episodes might be reduced, patients have greater peace of mind knowing that their physician is watching over their diabetes self-management decisions. In Serious Mika the 7/10 year-old-children take care of a virtual ant affected by type 1 diabetes. Smile D is a tutorial teaching (for Android) in which the protagonist explains symptoms and situations that he/she experienced before being diagnosed with diabetes (for 4/8 year-old children).
Conclusions: Educational applications motivate young patients and improve their therapy compliance, reaching and keeping a good metabolic control, minimizing the risk to develop acute and chronic complications, modifying the destiny of the disease and therefore reducing health care costs in the future.
20 - 22 Sep 2014
European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology