BO: promoting exercise for kids with heart defects

Hosana Morales

Hosana wanted to help families with children with congenital heart defects (CHD) understand the safe limits of exercise and play.

Physical activity is essential for children’s development, but those with congenital heart defects may suffer from a lack of opportunities to be physically active, which can hinder cognitive maturation, motor development and autonomy. Parents may be overprotective of their children with CHD, preventing them from getting the exercise they need.

This study used natural language processing techniques to analyse 305 online parent stories from various patient association websites. The results revealed the lifelong journey of these families, where an uncertain future led to a constant search for symptoms. The findings were used in generative interviews with seven families of a child with CHD to understand the ongoing symptom search during exercise. The combination of insights from the interviews and the life journey was presented to five members of the medical team to inspire a co-creation session.

The BO smart Product-Service-System aims to help parents and their children with CHD to better understand the safety limits of exercise in free-living conditions. With an activity tracker and its nine system modules, Bo aims to guide the child through different heart rate zones defined by the doctor. Bo also has a conversational agent function where parents can communicate their concerns to the medical team and find reassurance by seeing their child’s heart rate zone visualised on the activity path.

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