Gaming to Improve Health Literacy

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Health literacy study using online games on website and the virtual world of Second Life to improve awareness about the signs and symptoms of stroke, heart attack and to improve understanding of common medical terminology. Presented at : ALA Future is Now Conference 2010 Virtual Worlds Best in Practice Education Conference 2010


  • 1. Gaming to Improve Health Literacy
    • Elisabeth Jacobsen Marrapodi
  • (Brielle Coronet/SL)
  • Library Director
  • Trinitas Regional Medical Center
  • Elizabeth, New Jersey

2. Study:Can Interactive Games Improve Health Literacy?

  • The Research Team :
    • Team Leader: Medical Librarian
    • Advisors:Cardiology, Neurology & Education Nurses
    • Intern: 2 ndYear MLS Student
    • Teaching Objective :
    • Offer fun, educational, interactive Consumer Health Literacy quizzes to increase public awareness about signs and symptoms on selected health topics
    • Targeted Topics :
    • * Heart Attack
    • * Stroke
    • * Medical Terminology
    • Target Populations:
    • *local to global

3. The situation

  • Low literacy affects > 90 million adults in the U.S.
  • Low literacy contributes to adverse outcomes
    • Poor management of chronic illness
    • Less healthy behaviors
    • Higher hospitalization rates
    • Medical errors
    • And more

4. Why target heart attack and stroke?

  • Every 20 seconds, a person in the United States has a heart attack
    • At least 250,000 people die of heart attacks each year before they reach a hospital
  • Every 40 seconds a person in the United States has a stroke
    • Did you know that 75 to 80% of people who suffer a stroke don't seek help?
    • Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Over 143,579 people die each year from stroke in the United States
    • Too many people do not know the signs or will ignore themawareness and quick action are vital!

5. Advantages of online interactive games

  • For the Consumer:
  • Private, anonymous
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Accessible 24/7
  • Fun
  • For the Educator:
  • Inexpensive
  • Where your customers are
  • Maximum outreach

6. ChosenMethods

  • Library Website
    • 600,000+ visitors annually
  • Web 3.0 virtual reality 3D platform :
    • Second Life
    • virtual real time global community with >8 million residents

7. Library Website 8. Web 3.0: 3D Virtual World of Second Life HealthInfo Island 9. Sample Traveling Mini-Exhibits in Second Life 10. Stroke Quiz: Sample Questions 11. Promotional Strategies for Library Website

  • institutional website
  • Library website
  • Internal newsletter
  • Bulletin boards
  • Community news
  • Library blog
  • Facebook
  • NNLM wiki

12. Promotional Strategies for Second Life Study

  • SL events
  • Avatar profile
  • Avatars Twitter
  • professional groups
  • SL Library Google group
  • LinkedIn
  • RL library blog
  • Facebook

13. Preliminary Study Survey ResultsNov 2009*- Feb 2010 total post quiz survey responses Age Groups 14. Gender 15. Education Levels 16. Post Quiz Survey Question:Did you learn anynewinformation as a result of taking these health quizzes? 17. Post Quiz Survey Question: As a result of taking these quizzes will youuseany information for future health care decisions? 18. Projected Outcomes

  • Preliminary post-quiz survey feedback supports the hypothesis that online interactive games can be an easy, effective tool to increase health literacy
  • Our projected outcomes are that interactive online health games will create a "more informed community" who will:
    • Recognize signs and symptoms faster for stroke and heart attack
    • Get to a Stroke Center or Emergency Room quicker
    • Be able to communicate and understand common medical terms
    • for better management of their health care needs

19. Health Literacy Supporters

  • Healthy People 2010 (Dept of Health & Human Services, U.S.)
  • American Stroke Association
  • National Stroke Association (U.S.)
  • Medical Library Association
  • The Joint Commission (U.S.)
  • National Institute of Health (U.S.)

20. Full presentation available at Slideshare



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