CONCEPT: A well crafted educational adventure game that explores the cardiovascular system by examining and how it is affected by healthy living. The goal of the game is to diagnose and help Ragnar, a three eyed monster with a heart problem.
DELIVERY:This past year I taught Advanced Topics in Education (ATEd) where physician assistant students at the Keck School of Medicine at USC explore the changing dynamics in how people today communicate and investigate how they can use these different platforms technology has afforded us to deliver patient education outside the four walls of the examination room. Monster Heart Medic serves as a brilliant example of how we can help tackle problems in healthcare by reaching out and delivering education, this time through a exciting game! Two of the greatest health challenges children face are childhood obesity and high blood pressure which go hand in hand.
Meet Ragnar! A friendly 3 eyed monster who needs your help! Ragnar is not feeling very well and he needs you to help him get better! The game is cleverly crafted through an interactive narrative. As players build their knowledge of the cardiovascular system and healthy living they earn health achievements.
Through hands-on tests, interactive simulators, achievement collection, discussions with health professionals, animated monster stories, and arcade games, players learn about common cardiovascular conditions, diagnostic tests, and what steps can be taken to get and keep your cardiovascular system healthy.
The app was developed by UC Berkeley's Lawrence Hall of Science and funded by a National Institutes of Health SEPA Award and the interactive elements in the app are outstanding. From learning about the different parts the make up the cardiovascular system to truly embracing the role of a healthcare provider by using medical tools like a stethoscope and pressure cuff to help diagnose cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, they do a brilliant job of bringing to life and helping children visualize the dangerous effects of high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol.
We all know how much children love customizing characters and Ragnar is no exception! You can customize him with hats, moustaches, hairstyles and much more. With the fun music and character customization the ultimate goal and lessons of the game are never lost. The different game levels reinforce the importance of healthy food and lifestyle choices. As they diagnose and treat Ragnar, the idea is that children will begin learning how to make these choices for themselves as well so that they do not end up like Ragnar!
LIMITATIONS:None! This is a really well made app that embodies a perfect balance of education and excitement! Would love to see this in more languages and more topics.
CONCLUSION: A brilliant app that not only educates children (although I’d add this is great for adults as well) about the importance of a healthy lifestyle and the impact this can have on your body. Furthermore, Monster Heart Medic serves as a great example for how technology can be used in the service of community, an invaluable lesson for today”s health care professionals. 5/5
· can be used alongside any lesson on healthy food and lifestyle choices
· have students create their own healthy food and lifestyle plans
· model the possibilities for patient education to students studying healthcare
· healthcare providers can use this in the clinic with their young patients
· great for parents to use with their children as well