3 More Ways Gamification in Healthcare is Making a Difference

One of the trends sweeping the healthcare industry is gamification, using game-thinking and game-mechanics to change behavior. In healthcare, it’s primarily useful for behavioral changes–incentivizing people to increase their wellness by performing game like tasks and receiving rewards.

Kevin Shane, who was the Director of GSummit & Community Builder at GamificationCo wrote an article on some of the ways that gamification is being used within the healthcare industry.

Gamification in Healthcare is Growing even more
GCO previously shared a comprehensive overview on how games can help healthcare. They’ve found a few more ways how gamification is affecting the health landscape through simulation learning, inspiring new health insurance programs, disease management and more.

Simulation and Interaction Learning
One PharmExec.com piece “Gamification Grows Up” illustrates one current project by Syandus, “a small experiential learning agency” in Pennsylvania. Created for two large pharmaceutical companies, their COPD (short for shronic obstructive pulmonary disease) simulation software does some remarkable things:

  • It allows doctors to create and control a “virtual patient” and even control variables by inserting actual medical record information.
  • It has tweaking tools for environmental variables and shows how a particular patient would respond “on a deep physiological level.”
  • It allows introduction of drug therapy or see how the patient’s condition could be affected by smoking fewer cigarettes per day, for example.

The unprecedented interactivity allows the doctor to show patients how their behavior has a direct effect on their condition.

Health Insurers Embracing Gamification
According to BusinessInsider, one Minnesota-based insurer launched a gamification app with UnitedHealthcare called OptimizeMe. This app encourages fitness-related contests among friends. They have another game undergoing testing and development, Join For Me, that targets overweight adolescents at risk for developing diabetes and promotes physical activities like dancing for maintaining good health.

Managing Chronic Illness with Fun
Diabetes is no fun, but there are companies like GameMetrix Solutions who are inventing entertaining platforms based on other classic games – Solitaire and Jeopardy, for example – with the goal of managing those illnesses. The idea is to pull the patients into the games using tested and
familiar game mechanics with a very low learning curve. Back in 2007 GameMetrix came up with a game for diabetics that was based on the popular Trivial Pursuit. The response was stunning as over 3,000 patients began playing the game “regularly, with very little marketing.”

What’s the Future of Gamification in Healthcare?
According to Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, gamification in health care “isn’t the future – It’s now”. The state of health in the United States has been less than favorable for most people but the advances of gamification in healthcare will make great strides in making our therapeutic experiences significantly better as we improve our healthcare system.

For additional news, insight, research and commentary on gamification, visit the GCO website.