PRISM-An App For Teaching Kids To Cope With Chronic Illness

Rosenberg and her colleague Dr. Joyce Yi-Frazier created the Promoting Resilience in Stress Management (PRISM) program–a set of exercises designed to help teenagers and young adults with chronic and terminal illnesses cope with their diseases.

But there was a disconnect. Most of PRISM was centered around a human therapist working with paper and pencil. But that’s not the most effective way to help digital-savvy teens of today.

The only answer that made sense was an app. Rosenberg turned to a design firm Artefact to transform the paper PRISM framework into an app for teenage patients. Now, the app is in its first pilot at the hospital, where Rosenberg is putting it in the hands of teens.



The transition from paper to screen was no easy task. First, Artefact’s designers distilled PRISM’s four pillars:

  1. stress management and mindfulness
  2. goal setting and forward thinking
  3. cognitive reframing
  4. building gratitude

into six practical exercises that a user can do. These six modules are laid out in a honeycomb-like, lattice structure on the app’s home screen in warm secondary colors. When you tap on the breathing module, the app explains how breathing deeply can help users cope with stress, then walks you through a simple exercise where you breathe in, hold and then breathe out for four counts. The app literally counts for you.

Some of the other modules are connected to the user’s profile page, which looks purposefully like an Instagram feed. User’s profile page is customized with the image and words set by the user.

Artefact’s designers were very careful to design an app that exudes trustworthiness and safety, given the fragile state of minds of its users. Part of that is the calming color palette of muted orange, turquoise, purple, and pink.

The app isn’t public yet because testing has just begun. But ultimately, the app could help the doctors bring a methodology that’s been confined to the hospital to a wider population.

Via: Fastco