Serious and Transformational Games for Patient Education and Clinical Interventions

Students working on computers smiling at each other


Sustainable health remains a challenge for individuals across lifespan with chronic conditions such as Cystic Fibrosis and obesity. Creatively engaging children and adolescents will provide lifelong skills necessary to independently manage their health.

We propose to develop an infrastructure for serious and transformational game development at the University of Pittsburgh, which includes a scientific framework to evaluate both the short- and long-term efficacy of serious games in clinical and educational settings. Through this infrastructure, we will provide opportunities for faculty and students to create and evaluate transformational games. We have already begun two pilot projects for this new initiative. Our multidisciplinary team, which includes several graduate and undergraduate students, is developing two serious games focusing on key lifestyle behaviors for sustainable health: increasing medication adherence and enhancing clinical outcomes for adolescent patients with Cystic Fibrosis, and promoting healthy eating and physical activity behavior change in local populations suffering from childhood obesity.

Clinicians, patients, and parents will be essential components of the game development process. We will build a rigorous evaluation framework to identify and address shortcomings in current behavioral interventions contributing to best practices for future transformational game development in the healthcare arena. Development of a scalable foundation to bridge academic expertise (Computing, Pharmacy, Nursing, and Medicine) across the University, address real-world healthcare challenges, and engage Pitt students in cross-disciplinary translational research, which can be generalized to multiple patient populations, will be another outcome contributing to sustainability.

Principal Investigator

Dmitriy Babichenko
Computer Science

Select Collaborators

Kayla Booth
Computing and Information

Cynthia Danford

Lorin Grieve

Ravi Patel

Cody Moore
Medicine / UPMC Presbyterian

Goal Area