Making Juvenile Rheumatism understandable.

"ovos play" as a companion for children in the waiting room.

Jumping around, jumping down, or just running: For some children, these everyday movements are associated with a lot of pain. An estimated 1,000 children in Austria live with the diagnosis of juvenile idiopathic arthritis – the RHEUMALIS association is now doing important educational work for children and adults with an ovos-play app. The app is now available on the web, for Android and iOS devices, in English and German.

Playful Trainings
ovos play
Patient Innovation Award 2022

From Book to App

Theo the Tiger digital journey begins 

“Theo is a tiger full of courage, cheerfulness, and childlike energy – but on some days his juvenile rheumatism troubles him particularly: jumping on the trampoline and climbing on the play equipment is not much fun, or even impossible.

In the story “The-Lion-All-Tiger“, Theo finally realizes that it helps to confide in friends and take medicine regularly.”

Theo’s adventure is also the starting point for the joint project of Rheumalis and ovos. The rhyme book, which was published in 2022, was incorporated into ovos play – with the additional recordings of the audiobook, it became an interactive book experience for beginner readers.

But that was only supposed to be the beginning of the Rheumalis app…

Enlightenment for Children

The companion in the waiting room

For Rheumalis, it is important to make the lives of children with the disease as easy as possible and to approach everything related to it as positively as possible. Since children often lack the language to describe their own pain and worries, the stuffed animal consultation was developed.

Children find it easier to explain where it hurts using their stuffed animal. Karin Formanek, head of the non-profit organization RHEUMALIS, explains: “During our therapy week, it became apparent that the stuffed animal consultation has a very positive effect on the relationship with the doctors and leads to a conversation on an equal footing with the young patients”.

In several conceptual workshops and conversations with doctors focused on pediatric rheumatism, we gradually filtered out which topics are particularly important and often difficult to explain.

  • How do medications work?
  • Where exactly does it hurt?
  • And what happens to the blood after it’s drawn?

With the help of numerous materials, we delved into the topic – the challenge was to find the appropriate language for children so that the app does not come across as instructive, but rather as supportive. The first testers at the annual Rheumalis therapy week were all enthusiastic.

Our illustrator has created numerous drawings that are appealing to children, tailored to the theme and target audience.

“Now we have a cool tool that provides children with knowledge, simplifies interaction with doctors for both sides, and also makes it easier for children to explain to friends and others what it means to have juvenile rheumatism.
Karin Formanek, Head of RHEUMALIS

Take a peek

A first look into the (already awarded!) Rheumalis app

At every visit to the rheumatology clinic, blood is drawn. From the blood test results, doctors can monitor and record the development of the disease. But for many children, this is understandably the most exciting and probably the least favorite part of the whole examination.

That’s why we’ve tried to not only explain to them why blood is drawn and what is being tested in the blood, but also to make it experiential in a playful way how a blood draw takes place.

Patient Innovation Award

In the summer of 2022, the app was awarded the 2nd Patient Innovation Award by Novartis. This award of recognition is intended for innovative projects by patient organizations and self-help groups registered as an association in Austria.

Here  the card deck for blood draws can be tested – click in and swipe from right to left through the learning cards!

A few hard facts about the app

Why it’s worth taking a look at the app

  • Suitable for early readers: The entire content of the app was recorded by Mate Gruber who was already responsible for the “Löwen-Alles-Tiger” audiobook.
  • No sensitive data: The app has a guest access and is fundamentally designed to be absolutely data-sparing. All contents are therefore usable without registration and any linking of usage data with personal data.
  • Checked by doctors: All contents were created by ovos, but of course checked, expanded and improved in several iterations by doctors.
  • More in the pipeline: Since the app was launched, it has already been translated into English for international users. In addition, a mini-game has already been realised – further game developments and additional content are planned. So nothing stands in the way of the Rheumalis app growing.
  • Free of charge: The app is available on the web and app stores and can be downloaded and used by anyone interested.
  • Recommended by educators: Since November 2023, the app has also been labelled “Recommended by educators” by Google. In their feedback, they emphasise the user-friendliness, the design & animation, the variety and the encouragement to think critically.