Gamification for Health Promotion

Gamification for Health Promotion

We develop, evaluate and implement gamified and health game interventions for different health related purposes. Our target group consists of healthcare providers, health professionals, children, adolescents and families.

Our interventions aim to:

  • increase knowledge, understanding and skills
  • support behavior change and healthy life style
  • strengthen self-efficacy, self-esteem and health literacy

Key aspects in our projects are:

  • Our interventions are developed and researched in a multidisciplinary team of researchers and stakeholders, based on the latest research evidence and relevant theory.
  • We follow rigorously user centered design process and principles and value highly the needs, experiences, perceptions and expectations of our target groups.
  • We conduct studies during the development of the interventions to assess their usability and feasibility from the perspective of the users and contexts of use.
  • We conduct studies during the implementation of the interventions to assess their validity, quality and effectiveness from the perspective of the user outcomes, stakeholders and organizations.

Our projects are multidisciplinary and international. We also participate in other projects in the field of serious gaming and gamification.

New ideas and partners are always welcomed!



Improving Children Hand Hygiene

Candy project targets children’s hand hygiene in a novel way by developing, evaluating and implementing smart IoT-based and gamified intervention. Project is carried out together with the University of Bamberg.

The project has several phases; from development to implementation. The digital intervention includes an easy-to-implement, digital feedback provided during hand washing in kindergartens (“live feedback”).  The findings of the research will inform the development of faucets that can serve as “digital personal trainers”, costing only little more than conventional devices and are suitable for installations in kindergartens, hospitals, elderly care facilities, and public buildings.

Currently, the intervention is under development and the recruitment of Kindergartens for the first phase, the feasibility study, in Germany and Finland is ongoing.

Contact information: PI Anni Pakarinen, PhD, MHSc, RN,


Dreamcatcher project

During the Dreamcatcher project, a health game intervention is under development. Intervention aims to educate preschool-aged children (4-6y) to be prepared for anesthesia and to reduce their anxiety. Project is carried out together with the University of Iceland. The pilot study  is carried out in hospital in Iceland and in Finland during 2021.


Contact information:

PI (University of Iceland): Brynja Ingadóttir, PhD, RN, CNS (Landspitali University Hospital), Associate Professor (University of Iceland),

PI (University of Turku): Anni Pakarinen, PhD, MHSc, RN,


HEAL project

HEAL project aims to foster children’s health-related equality.

All children should have the right for healthy life and future. The ultimate goal of HEAL project is to foster the health equity of children in middle childhood (6-13 years old). During the HEAL project this is achieved through interactive gamification and developing an “Intelligent Intervention Support System”.

Contact information: PI Anni Pakarinen, PhD, MHSc, RN,



Movenator project

During the Movenator project, a mobile game intervention was developed. Intervention aims to promote pre-adolescents’ physical activity and physical activity self-efficacy. We are currently reporting the results from the pilot RCT, intervention study among school-aged children.

Contact information: PI Anni Pakarinen, PhD, MHSc, RN,



NO! To smoking & FUME

NO! To smoking & FUME

The aim of the project is to increase understanding on health literacy, and tobacco-preventive health education needs and expectations from adolescents’ perspective. Further, the aim is to develop a digital health game that supports health literacy and a tobacco free lifestyle in 10 to 13-year-old early adolescents.

More information:
Fume on mukana Terveyskylä.fi:n Nuortentalon sovellusten joukossa!

Contact information: PI Heidi Parisod, PhD, MHSc, PHN/RN,



Playful Activity Remotely and Socially

Project is Funded by Business Finland Co-creation (1.3.-31.8.2021) and carried out together with Department of Computing, University of Turku, and the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä.

PARAS project proposes an ambitious solution for providing state-of-the-art playful health, learning and social content following the principles of platform economy. The goal is to create the leading platform of the playful digital content open globally to content providers, smart device manufacturers and service providers e.g. hospitals, schools and insurance companies.

Following the goals of the Smart Life Finland programme (Business Finland), the aim is to develop person-centered, real-time and smart solutions for people in different context and for various use. One major aims is to tackle the challenges of loneliness and social isolation, which may lead to adverse effects on physical, mental and psychosocial health of people.

Contact information: PI Anni Pakarinen, PhD, MHSc, RN,


Stepping project

During the Stepping project, led by Stepfamily association of Finland, a mobile assisted intervention was developed. Intervention aims to support the wellbeing, relationships and functioning of stepfamilies. We are currently evaluating the feasibility of the intervention among stepfamilies and professionals.

More information:

Contact information: PI Anni Pakarinen, PhD, MHSc, RN,

Qvalidi 2019 Tool

Qvalidi 2019 tool

Qvalidi 2019 tool was developed during 2017-2018 among team of experts from health care and information technology. The Qvalidi 2019 tool was developed based on research and current guidelines that are concerning health applications (non medical devices). The original tool includes 49 questions that are devided into four areas: health/wellness, technical features, user orientation, and safety.

Qvalidi tool aims to evaluate the quality and validity of digital health applications and health games. Tool can be used by developers as a guidance in product development and by health care providers when choosing high quality digital health solutions to be implemented in health care.

Currently, the on-going study on Qvalidi Tool aims to design a quantifiable assessment instrument based on its distinctive domains. The development engages the participation of diverse subject-matter experts in relevant fields of ehealth and research to validate the scoresheet items that represent the Qvalildi checklist. The study brings forth the Qvalidi scoresheet and user manual.



Article about the tool (in Finnish) published in Journal of Nursing Science (Hoitotiede lehti):
Hamari L, Parisod H, Pakarinen A, Skogberg M, Aromaa M, Leppänen V, Salanterä S. 2020. Digitaalisten terveys- ja hyvinvointisovellusten kehittäminen, arviointi ja raportointi: Qvalidi 2019 -tarkistuslistan kehittäminen ja sisältö. Hoitotiede 2020, 32(1), 52–66

Contact information: Lotta Hamari, PhD, MHSc, PT,




Qvalidi 2019 Tarkistuslistan oikeudet omistaa Qvalidi asiantuntijaryhmä, joka on kehittänyt tarkistuslistan. Käyttö edellyttää asianmukaista viittausta artikkeliin: Hamari L, Parisod H, Pakarinen A, Skogberg M, Aromaa M, Leppänen V, Salanterä S. 2020. Digitaalisten terveys- ja hyvinvointisovellusten kehittäminen, arviointi ja raportointi: Qvalidi 2019 -tarkistuslistan kehittäminen ja sisältö. Hoitotiede 2020, 32(1), 52–66.
Qvalidi 2019 työkalun saa käyttöönsä täyttämällä käyttöpyyntölomakkeen.

Link for the Qvalidi checked applications


Principal investigator

Anni Pakarinen Postdoctoral Researcher, PhD, MHSc, RN

Research personnel

Project leaders

PhD students

Johanna Nyman, RN, MHsC, PhD candidate Supporting early adolescents’ health related self-efficacy – Development and evaluation of an intervention.

Minna Laiti, Radiographer, MHSc, PhD candidate. Sexual and gender diversity in secondary school nursing practice- Development of framework for interaction between LGBTQ+ youth and school nurse.

Henna Hakojärvi, RDH, MHSc, PhD candidate. Child perspective in participatory school-based oral health education.

Anna Tornivuori, RN, MHSc, PhD candidate. Chronically ill adolescent´s and  transition of care-  digital services  and development of an e-coaching model

Sónia Borges Rodrigues, MNSc, PhD candidate (Nursing School of Lisbon)

Master students

  • Elina Laitonen RN, BHSc -Dreamcatcher project
  • Annika Nordberg RN, BHSc – HEAL project
  • Kaile Kubota RN, BHSc – Qvalidi project & HEAL project
  • Habib Raj RN, BHSc – WellWe project