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Nurses help to develop heart attack phone app

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Nurses in Australia have helped create a mobile phone application or “app” to teach people what to do if someone has a heart attack and raise awareness of the warning signs.

The interactive game, which features an animated nurse called Cora, was developed on behalf of Flinders University’s school of nursing and midwifery.

“The avatar won’t forget anything and it can work hand-in-hand with nurses”

Justin Clark

It is designed to boost understanding of the symptoms of acute heart disease and the correct responses by guiding users through a series of simple instructions. The 15-minute game features a before and after quiz to check what users have learned and identify any gaps in their knowledge.

Robyn Clark, professor of nursing in acute care and cardiovascular research, said the app was developed in response to studies showing IT could help improve patients’ knowledge and ability to manage their own conditions.

“Retention of information is far greater with an interactive app than with a printed brochure and by using the app we hope to improve knowledge, responses and ultimately save lives,” she said.

A six-month trial in 2015 found most participants – 87.3% – reported a high level of satisfaction with the app.

The study found knowledge increased by more than 15%, while symptom recognition increased by more than 24%.

The app is now being tested in clinical trials at the Flinders Medical Centre with a full launch planned for 2017.

Patients who have suffered a heart attack – and their families – will be loaned a tablet device featuring the app before being discharged from hospital.

They will keep the device for several months so they can review and refresh their knowledge.

The app was developed by animation studio Moneystack.

“It provides the perfect education,” said studio director Justin Clark. “The avatar won’t forget anything and it can work hand-in-hand with nurses.”

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