SOIGNONS: Societal Games to Nudge People into Attending Cervical Cancer Screening

Project Leader: Mari Nygård

PostDoc: Tomás Ruiz-López

SOIGNONS is an eScience initiative to virally communicate health information concerning cervical cancer via gamification in mobile games. Games with a purpose will present information as thought-provoking puzzles and incentives to a large number of smart phone users. These games will create awareness among individuals via puzzles encompassing popularized scientific-evidence about cervical cancer prevention (eventually other cancers) also for sub-optimally screened groups. Incentives in the game based on an individual’s performance will empower him/her to share electronic invitations to cancer screening via social platforms such as Facebook, Google+, and even basic SMS for maximum outreach. We expect gamification to create an evidence-based medium for the mobile users to nudge women in their families, friend circles, and also as a general societal empowerment tool to reach out to people not screened. Social nudging lies in the very nature of the human behavior where we are actively involved in the lives of our friends and relatives discussing lifestyle choices. SOIGNONS will boost nudging based on accurate scientific-evidence, which will lead to evolution in overall societal health, improve necessary visits to doctors, and introduce better lifestyle choices. About 50% of the cervical cancers in Norway arises among the 20% of sub-optimally screened population[4]. Games developed in SOIGNONS will present users with evidence and incentives to target this population. Multilingual support of English, Icelandic, and Norwegian in the games will help reach the largest possible number of users and the game can be down loaded for free from the App store. SOIGNONS has the following specific aims:
Specific Aim 1: Societal game design and content creation: Health-related scientific-evidence will be mapped onto as puzzles and incentives in a game suite called Solve Cervical Cancer (SCC). SCC will have variants based on familiar classic games such as trivia, hangman, detective games played widely by people of different ages on mobile phones. Scientific experts in public health will develop content (on an online web application) for the game puzzles from scientific-evidence. Users will play games to garner specific knowledge and will be empowered with invites to nudge their own social circle to attend screening (also by self-sampling).
Specific Aim 2: Incentives and dissemination of game for social nudging: The game will be disseminated on an app store for both IPhone and Android and it will be spread virally where a user can invite others. Incentives in the game will be designed to promote the player to encourage screening in his/her own family/friend circle and especially those who do not use modern mobile phones via SMS. Those who are at the target group for cervical cancer screening will have a possibility to access their own data in the screening program database (login through Bank ID).
Specific Aim 3: Evaluation: Attitude, knowledge and user friendliness will be evaluated by analyzing the large amount of user data generated and stored on a cloud server. The pattern of spreading app in the population will be evaluated by using information about how many invites were sent out and accepted, and we collect user feedback about whether he/she has been able to nudge a friend/relative to go to screening. Using screening registry we evaluate how many queried her screening history. Subsequent screening attendance will be observed via registry linkage, allowing addressing aspects of the effect of the game on sub-optimally screened groups.