Do you put off going to the doctor because of fear? If the answer is
yes, then you are certainly not alone. According to research carried
out as part of our Live:Lab project, 61% of people asked admitted that
they put off going to see their GP because of fears that they may be
told that they have a serious illness.1 So, what can be
done to help support the UK to overcome its Fear of Finding Out (FOFO)?
Research has shown that late diagnosis places a huge strain on NHS
budget, with an extra £150 million spent on late diagnosis of colon,
rectal, lung and ovarian cancers alone.2 So although
individuals may think that they are doing the healthcare system a
favour by not taking up NHS time, they could actually end up costing
the NHS more should there actually be something wrong.
“GPs are overworked and stressed, and demand for appointments is
high, so much so that it can be difficult to get an appointment at
times. However, (and I can’t stress this enough), we still want to see
you, especially if you are having symptoms that could be a sign of
chronic disease or cancer. It is never a waste of a doctor’s time if
you are concerned.” Explains Dr Zoe Williams, GP, former Gladiator
and key collaborator in the Live:Lab
As part of the project, we have teamed up with various
organisations such as Aardman Animations and the Patients Association
to create ‘Crush Your FOFO’, a gamified quiz that aims to help experts
understand what lies behind the Fear of Finding Out. The quiz’s
approach to public health messaging uses humour rather than the more
traditional hard-hitting methods
that have been used in the
past, and even give the user an option to crush their FOFO once and
for all. But despite the comical theme of the app, the #CrushYourFOFO
campaign aims to highlight the importance visiting a GP or pharmacist
early in an attempt to increase early detection rates, and to
to alleviate some of the financial pressures placed on the
NHS as a result of late diagnosis.
The ‘Crush Your FOFO’ quiz highlights NHS Choices as a first port of
call for people feeling unwell, followed by directing users to a GP or
pharmacist if they are still worried. The anonymous data collected
from the quiz will be open-sourced and available for use for by the
wider healthcare industry with the goal of helping healthcare
providers pinpoint ways in which the system can better encourage
members of the public to get ‘checked out’.
‘GLITCHERS’, the British video-game company credited for the design
of games such as Sea Hero Quest, is one of the organisations behind
the Crush Your FOFO quiz, showing that game-based health studies have
the potential to drive conversation around public and personal health
in a way that other media cannot. Max Scott-Slade, co-founder of the
company, is enthusiastic about the health and tech overlap.
“Gaming is at a very interesting juncture in the health
I’m really happy to be part of Live:Lab to continue the innovation in
this space. We’ve partnered with AbbVie UK to explore how gaming can
aid advances in healthcare around the Fear of Finding
designed Crush Your FOFO. It’s important that consumers can be reached
with important health messages, and collaborations with industries
such as gaming could be key to finding the best ways to do that.”
To take part in the project and to find out what type of FOFO you
have, take the quiz at www.crushyourfofo.co.uk. At the end of the quiz
your answers will be analysed and you will be assigned your own
personal fear gremlin, which you can then crush to symbolise positive
steps towards taking control of your health.
To find out more about the Live:Lab project click here.