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MyHealthyTale app's interactive, digital stories teach diabetic children


Like all with an entrepreneurial spirit, Xavier University junior Anthony Breen is a problem solver.

While he was spending a few days at a local hospital visiting a friend, he met some young children who'd been diagnosed with illnesses. He immediately saw a challenge that he could meet.

"When kids are diagnosed, they are given pamphlets written for adults and by adults. It's not in any way engaging. It's scary," says Breen, a finance and entrepreneurship major, with a minor in accounting.

It was from that experience that Breen developed a web-based app that uses storytelling to teach diabetic children about their disease in an understandable way. It's aimed at ages 2 to 12.

The app, MyHealthyTale, follows a diabetic character through a 15-minute story where the child can answer questions about their chronic disease by following the character through the story. The story pulls from a database of questions, mixing them up. So each time children read the story, they get different questions.

"The can name a bear that goes through the story and customize it," Breen says. "It's a fun way to learn that's not scary."

MyHealthyTale is the inaugural offering of Breen's Minerva Health Learning Systems, one of the winning companies for the new Innov8 for health Startup Accelerator.

MyHealthyTale will soon be available at the iPhone App store, and available on Android in the next three months. In addition to the story book, there's also information and support resources for parents, including the ability to direct email caregivers and other parents with diabetic children.

Breen is working with Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and diabetic educators at Cincinnati Children's and The Christ hospitals. Eventually, he wants to expand the app, with stories that cover a range of illnesses.

"Really, this can be used for any medical condition," he says."Right now we're just entering the market, and we want to move this into asthma and obesity."

By Feoshia H. Davis
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