Assessment Needs Analysis for Developing Mobile Apps to Encourage Proactive Preventive Medicine Education Among Young Military Personnel

Gianluca De Leo, Stefano Bonacina, Eleonora Brivio, Taryn Cuper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: International travel to underdeveloped areas where both hygienic conditions and sufficient medical care are often in short supply can pose severe health risks. Infectious disease is one of the most common health risks for military forces deployed overseas. Careful personal hygiene and early symptom recognition serve as important steps in averting potential illness. With the ubiquitous deployment threat of chemical and biological warfare agents, the benefit of early detection and action can ultimately be critical for survival. Nowadays gamebased learning models, made available on mobile devices in the form of apps, can provide relevant medical knowledge, and they can effectively reach a young military population. The aims of this preliminary research project are twofold: (1) We want to investigate whether young U.S. Army personnel would be open to the use of mobile apps while deployed abroad, and (2) we want to share the research design adopted with the intent of providing a baseline methodology that can be used in future larger studies. Subjects and Methods: We recruited and interviewed Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets at a university in the United States. Focus groups have been adopted as a research tool for collecting data. Open and close-ended questions were used during the focus group. Four domains were investigated: Cell phone usage, game console perceptions, game genre preferences, and gaming habits and perceptions. Results: The analysis of the focus group data reported that young military personnel often play with videogames and that they prefer first person Action/Combat genre. The data also showed that they do not consider playing videogames to be a leisure activity but a part of their lives. Conclusion: The preliminary results of this study suggest that games on cell phones could be considered as a platform for teaching young military personnel medical-related concepts and health safety procedures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)134-138
Number of pages5
JournalGames for health journal
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • games
  • mHealth


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