The Behavioural Science Group (BSG), Department of Public Health and Primary care organised six fun and educational fête style games for the public to engage in at the Cambridge Science Festival 2019. The games aimed to teach people about the prevalence of hypertension (high blood pressure) in England, the proportion of people who do not take their anti-hypertensive tablets regularly, and how a digital intervention may be able to support patients to take their medications as prescribed.
In this game, a member of our Science Festival team would ask the question on the front of the flip chart paper and members of the public would have to guess the answer. Our team member would then flip the paper to reveal the answer on the next page.
The questions were:
Q1: What is the percentage of patients with high blood pressure who do not take their medications as prescribed?
Q2: What is the annual cost of medication non-adherence to the NHS?
A2: £390 million
Q3: How much time do nurses have to spend with each patient during a consultation?
A3: Between 7 to 9 minutes.
For this game, it was up to members of the public to arrange the reasons for medication non-adherence from what they thought might be most common to least common. This game was designed to initiate discussion with the public on common reasons why people may not take their tablets as prescribed.
Giving us your recommendations
At this station, we asked members of the public to write down their recommendations for how we may convince people to take their medication using text messages or app notifications. We received so many wonderful suggestions from the public and are eager to implement some suggestions into our future research!
For this game, 8 coloured card were placed face down on a table. On the cards were different facts about hypertension, medication adherence, and digital interventions. There were 4 different facts on the 8 cards (2 x 4 cards had the same fact). It was the public’s job to find the matching cards by turning them over to see if they found the matching fact. This game facilitated discussion on how digital interventions are a low-cost way to support people to take their medication as prescribed.
We came up with some scenarios for why some patients may feel like they cannot take their medication as prescribed. Members of the public would read the case studies and write down suggestions for what they may say to the patient to support them in taking their tablets.
Score a goal, win a prize
For the young children who came to our stand, we had a red blood cell toy that they could aim and throw into a box – ‘scoring a goal’. If they scored, they could choose a toy from our wonderful and bright selection of toy dinosaurs, glitter pens and stickers.
Meet the Scientist stand – Dr Katerina Kassavou
Dr Katerina Kassavou, from the BSG, participated in the Meet the Scientist stand at the Cambridge Science Festival 2019. With members of the public, Katerina discussed her work to do with developing different digital interventions (such as a text messaging service and smart phone app) to support patients’ medication adherence to anti-hypertensive medications between their primary care consultations.
In addition delivered Stephen Sutton, Professor of Behavioural Science from the BSG, the talk "Can smartphone apps help people change their behaviour?" on the research conducted at the University of Cambridge on novel ways of using smartphone apps to help people make positive lifestyle changes, such as increasing medication adherence and quitting smoking.
The BSG would like to say a huge thank you to everybody that came to the Cambridge Science Festival, and especially to those who came to our stand and engaged in discussion with us regarding our work!