Baxter uses online game to reach hemophilia sufferers

Ruder Finn has developed an online game encouraging better communications among those suffering from hemophilia. Pharmaceutical company Baxter International is backing the project.

DEERFIELD, IL: Ruder Finn has developed Allies Quest, an online educational game that encourages community engagement and proactive treatment for those affected by hemophilia. Pharmaceutical company Baxter International is backing the project.

The game is meant to be a fun way for people with hemophilia and their family and friends to interact online, while also engaging in real-world activities to learn about and pursue reduced annual bleed rates.

More than 400,000 people around the globe suffer from the ailment, according to the World Federation of Hemophilia.

“We hope that players emerge from the game better informed, with stronger community support, and are motivated to pursue a life with fewer bleeds,” said Jacopo Leonardi, VP of Hemophilia USA at Baxter Healthcare, in a statement.

Baxter decided to use a game to promote treatment and prevention behaviors because of research showing that the online world can affect change in real-life actions by connecting gaming and healthy activities.

It is the first time Ruder Finn has built a game for a healthcare client, said Kevin Silverman, director of healthcare innovation at Ruder Finn.

The firm is especially hopeful that the game will lead to greater communications among those affected by the condition, because “this population often doesn't have another patient like them in their neighborhoods,” he said.

The target audience is age 18 to 25, because this demographic tends to leave their parents' home and may not be as careful caring for themselves as they were before.

The outreach strategy to promote the game also employs social media channels such as Facebook.

The group is also targeting patient organizations with a hemophilia focus about the game, Silverman said.

“The real home run for us would be that after playing the game, the patient population takes in and applies some of the tips and facts that apply to them or their loved ones,” he said.

So far, there's been some confusion about Baxter's intent with the game, said Rich Pezzillo, communications manager at the Hemophilia Federation of America.

“We are unclear as to if it is an educational product or a marketing tool to attract patients,” he said.

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