Superhero Me! Winner of the eyeforpharma Mobile Health Competition 2012

Rebecca Aris interviews Marianne Lynch and Dimuthu Jayawardana

Life Healthcare Communications

Smartphones and mobile devices have huge potential in terms of capability, but are often under-exploited. Through the increasing uptake of apps and social media, smartphones provide a significant opportunity for engagement and communication, particularly in the patient population.

We speak with Life Healthcare communications who designed an app for teenage cancer patients – Superhero Me!, which was winner of eyeforpharma’s Mobile Health Competition 2012.

A transcript of some edited highlights is shown in print below.

Interview summary

RA: What is Superhero Me!?

ML: Superhero Me! is a concept that aims to help teenage cancer patients with their day-to-day lives through an app on their smartphone. These are people who are battling and living with cancer while going through one of the toughest periods in any person’s life – the teenage years. The Superhero Me! idea recently won the eyeforpharma Mobile Health Competition 2012.

RA: How does the app help them?

DJ: One recurring theme among teenage cancer sufferers is the feeling of loneliness, fear and isolation. We wanted to address those feelings, as well as help them manage their daily lives, through a mobile application.

“One recurring theme among teenage cancer sufferers is the feeling of loneliness, fear and isolation.”

The intention was to enable teenage cancer patients to be teenagers first, and cancer patients second. The app needed a host of useful features, while being fun and engaging – to give them a source of entertainment during the long periods away from their normal lives.

It includes features such as a diary, journal and notes to let users set reminders, or create memories when their short-term memory may be below par. Nowadays, people always have their phone with them, so the app can act as a reminder service wherever they are.

The app enables users to ask any question they have, in an environment they choose. Whether it’s a personal conversation or an open forum, they can find the support and dialogue they are looking for. We want users to realise that there is always someone there for them.

ML: One of the most important objectives of this concept was to find a way for teenage cancer patients to have fun and be sociable. They can do this through the Superhero Me! games section, where they can play chess, word games or test their general knowledge, either by themselves, or with their Superhero Me! friends.

“The intention was to enable teenage cancer patients to be teenagers first, and cancer patients second.”

RA: What was the Mobile Health competition?

ML: eyeforpharma launched the Mobile Health Competition 2012 with a group of partner organisations who truly understood the unmet needs of young people with cancer. The competition highlighted the lack of mobile applications available to teenage cancer patients, and asked the online community to submit their ideas on how best to address this problem, with the opportunity to develop the winning concept.

DJ: Superhero Me! made the final 3 in the competition, and was then chosen by the judging panel as the overall winner. As the winning entry, we will be awarded $5000 to donate to a charity of our choice. We’ve decided to give this to Cancer Research UK to help further their research.

RA: What happens next?

ML: We’re very keen to make the Superhero Me! app a reality, and we’re very keen to hear from any prospective sponsors. If anyone would like to see our original entry to the competition they can visit here, or to find out more about being a sponsor, they can head to: http://www.life-healthcare.com/superherome

About the interviewees:

Marianne Lynch (ML) is an Art Director and Dimuthu Jayawardana (DJ) is a Copywriter at Life Healthcare Communications, a creative agency based in Windsor, Berkshire.

What do you think is important to teenage cancer patients?