That Darned Chocolate in Candy Crush Saga!

This blog post was made by Dori Schatell, MS, Executive Director, Medical Education Institute on November 21st, 2013.
That Darned Chocolate in Candy Crush Saga!

One challenge we often face as a non-profit developing evidence-based education to help people with kidney disease is awareness. The challenge is not so much announcing to the world when we have a new resource (that's pretty easy to do). But, rather, helping busy folks like you remember that we offer tools to help your patients, and the nature and location of those tools. There are just so many sources of information these days, so much to do, and so much to recall, that it's easy to get crowded out.

We launched our Life Options website (www.lifeoptions.org) in 1995—when there were only 23,500 websites!1 That site hosts tons of great, mostly free resources, including:

  • How to Have a Good Future with Kidney Disease – 6 free video classes to show patients. Good Future Patients
  • How to Have a Good Future with Kidney Disease – Free toolkit for professionals who want to teach patients one-on-one or in group (and even bill for MIPPA) Good Future Professionals
  • Help, I Need Dialysis! – How to Have a Good Future with Kidney Disease. Yes, the book was intended to be the "text" for the dialysis deck of slides. lifeoptions.org/help_book

In contrast, when we launched Home Dialysis Central (www.homedialysis.org) in 2004, there were an estimated 43,000,000 websites.2 And, today, there are an estimated 1.68 billion.3 And, the communication explosion isn't just about. When I was in college in the 1980s, the only TV channels were ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, and Fox. Today, the average home gets more than 118 channels.4

Think about it. Even the government used to be able to alert the vast majority of us to an emergency with five TV channels. Today? Who knows? Social media sometimes seems to be taking us back toward one-on-one (or at least on-on-small-group) communication. Some days I picture us heading back to the days of tribal councils sitting around campfires and handing down stories to the next generation.

Or, if you play Candy Crush Saga—and 132.4 million of us do5—you may have run into the horrible expanding chocolate.6 This malevolent multiplying menace takes over the game board, making it impossible to move and ultimately smothering all options (a bit like the way websites seem to be multiplying each day and choking each other out.)

So, what can we do to break through all the noise and get a message through—say, about home dialysis resources?

  • Repetition is clearly one key, and a core Adult Learning Principle.
  • Collaboration between like-minded organizations can help expand the number of message senders, and thus the number of receivers.
  • A celebrity endorsement would be great—sort of like the equivalent of one of those Candy Crush color bombs.

We'd love to hear your ideas for getting the word out about patient education resources—and keeping people aware of what's available!

References

  1. royal.pingdom.com/2011/03/31/internet-1995/. (Ironic that this info is from a website, isn't it? ;-))
  2. www.boutell.com/newfaq.backup/basic/sizeofweb.html
  3. www.worldwidewebsize.com
  4. www.nielsen.com/us/en/press-room/2008/average_u_s__home.html
  5. www.theguardian.com/technology/appsblog/2013/sep/10/candy-crush-saga-king-interview
  6. www.withoutthesarcasm.com/candy-crush-saga-chocolate/

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