With the success of Cora, the team are now working to develop her parents: Bob and Mary. Bob and Mary have heart failure—a condition that requires constant management and life adjustments like taking your medicine, going for walks, eating healthily, taking precautions when travelling, weighing yourself. For this type of behavioural change, research shows that peer teaching is most effective; many people get health advice from their friends. So Robyn’s team and Monkeystack have created a companion app with Mary and Bob, speaking directly to women and men about the changes they should make. Users can customise Bob and Mary to look just like them. It’s a bit like playing The Sims—without quite so many earring choices (The team were surprised to receive one user’s suggestion about wanting a selection of earrings for Mary).
Robyn is also working on an emergency app to sit alongside Cora. The app will have one button that users should press if they’re having a heart attack. It will automatically call two numbers: an ambulance and a loved one.
Robyn has always wanted to be Princess Leia from Star Wars. She loves the idea of R2D2 taking Leia’s message to places she couldn’t reach—which is where Robyn draws inspiration for Cora going into patient’s homes to teach them about their health. She’s excited about bringing games into the clinical environment. She explains, ‘Hospitals are so far behind how people communicate when they step out the door. I’m really excited to be part of the journey to bring 21st century communication into regular clinical practice.’
Once Cora is translated, the team plans to work with the Heart Foundation to distribute and promote the app. It is hoped that Cora will lead to a long line of evidence-based apps to bring our health literacy into the twenty-first century and, ultimately, help save lives.