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The objective of this project, bridging medical research at the Children's Cancer Research Institute (CCRI) and St Anna Children's hospital, design research at the University of Applied Arts, information communication technology (ICT) research at the University of Vienna, Faculty of Computer Science and ICT application by the industrial partner T-Systems GmbH, is to improve communication with outpatients after HSCT by developing an advanced information- and communication-tool.

The major challenge of this project will be the design and development of a communication tool, not only by means of pure communication, which can be as simple as using video conferencing, email or Web-blogs, but also by means of stimulating communication, learning, training and, most importantly, by automatically measuring the patient status.

INTERACCT should be able to cope with an enormous scope and complexity, like adaption to age, gender, cultural difference and education, disease, risk factors, physical and psychosocial status of the patient, and others. The proposed communication tool will be individually tailored for each patient and should be easy to use by means of specifying and monitoring patient status and needs (assessment of behavioral changes, signs and symptoms), should include games and a personal avatar for motivation, should offer a measure for possible positive therapeutic effects, and should teach adequate behavior. For the clinician it should give information on the patient status e.g. by monitoring the patient´s behavior (eating and drinking habits, compliance in taking the medication etc.) or by observing the patient´s physical and mental skills when achieving the game goals.

Furthermore, we aim at including a playful character to this tool and rewards for achieving specific clinical goals, and we intend to develop it basically non-verbally to eliminate possible language disadvantages. It is important to attain the highest possible acceptance by pediatric patients. Therefore, the design of this tool will be highly important. A high acceptance can be achieved by applying the method of Design Thinking (e.g. see Brown 2008), which is a process for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for an improved future result. As an internationally recognized interdisciplinary research (IDR) method it is in use in the development and improvement of health communication for patient needs and innovation in Europe and USA (e.g. design thinking Lab at the Mayo Clinic 2010).

And finally, interaction with the system should transcend ordinary game interaction by using innovative input devices where the whole body can be used for steering (interacting) and body movement can be observed and included for diagnosis. A novel, adaptive, mainly non-verbal interactive internet tool with a high fun factor will improve medical communication and education for children and adolescents with cancer in outpatient care leading to improved motivation of patients, earlier recognition of clinical complications and, finally, enhanced diagnosis and improved outpatient care.

See also: INTERACCT image video

Further details
2013 - 2015
Research Group Entertainment Computing
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Faculty of Computer Science
University of Vienna

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