A great man once said, “I wanna be the very best, like no one ever was, to catch them is my real test, to train them is my cause…” The lines following right after are some of the most iconic in all of television history. “Pokémon gotta catch em’ all”.
A franchise with over $100 billion in revenue, standing at the very top as the highest grossing media franchise in the world, even boasted 133 million active users on its one of a kind augmented reality based game Pokémon GO.
But how is any of this even remotely related to healthcare? While not conceived as a healthcare application, the global phenomenon Pokémon GO inadvertently promoted physical activity among its players. The augmented reality game encouraged players to explore their surroundings and capture virtual creatures.
This exploration required players to walk significant distances, leading to a surge in physical activity levels. In fact, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that Pokémon GO players increased their daily step count by an average of 1,976 steps during the game's peak popularity. This unexpected health benefit showcases the potential of gamification to impact behavior positively on a large scale.
Gamification is a fresh and inventive approach that has the potential to revolutionize how we interact with our well-being in the rapidly changing healthcare landscape. Healthcare is no exception to the growing popularity of gamification, which involves incorporating game mechanics and elements into contexts where they are not typically used.
Gamification holds the promise of boosting patient engagement, boosting treatment adherence, and ultimately resulting in better health outcomes by integrating gaming principles into healthcare practices.
In this blog, let’s look at the power of gamification in healthcare, along with its advantages, uses, and potential to completely change how we think about health and wellness.
The Gamification Landscape in Healthcare
As healthcare continues to accept digital transformation, gamification has emerged as a much needed and powerful tool for motivating and engaging individuals in their health journeys. According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets.com, the global healthcare gamification market is set for remarkable expansion, with trends and forecasts indicating a trajectory of growth until 2031. The market is driven by the recognition that traditional approaches to healthcare engagement often fall short in capturing patients' attention and sustaining their commitment to wellness.
The Potential for Improved Outcomes
Traditional methods of getting patients to adopt healthy methods often rely on educational campaigns or static informational resources, which are more often than not quite boring and hence might not fully engage patients. Gamification, on the other hand, taps into human psychology, and just like with Flyy’s gamification platform, it leverages intrinsic motivators like leaderboards, competition, achievement, and rewards.
A survey conducted by Octalysis Group revealed that 65% of participants believe gamification could make them more interested in managing their health. This highlights the potential for gamification to bridge the gap between intention and action, leading to tangible improvements in health outcomes.
Applications of Gamification in Healthcare
The applications of gamification in healthcare are quite diverse and far-reaching. From wellness programs to chronic disease management, gamification has found its way into various aspects of the healthcare ecosystem.
1. Fitness and Wellness Apps: Fitness and wellness apps have used gamification to motivate users to stay active. These apps often incorporate features like step tracking, virtual challenges, and rewards for meeting fitness goals. This approach encourages users to be more consistent and dedicated to their exercise routines.
2. Chronic Disease Management: Gamification is proving to be an effective strategy for managing chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Devices and apps such as the Mango Helath App allow users to track their health metrics, set goals, and receive rewards for positive behaviours can lead to better disease management and improved adherence to treatment plans.
Case Studies and Success Stories
Numerous success stories highlight the transformative impact of gamification in the healthcare landscape. These stories shed light on how gamified approaches have not only engaged patients but also empowered them to take charge of their own health and well-being. Let's look at some compelling case studies that prove the efficacy of gamification:
1. Zamzee: Fostering Active Lifestyles in Children
Zamzee is a pioneering gaming device that aims to combat childhood inactivity by making physical activity engaging and rewarding. Designed for children, Zamzee attaches to clothing and tracks steps, translating them into virtual rewards within an online gaming platform. This clever integration of movement and play encourages children to stay active, creating a sense of accomplishment as they accumulate more steps and achieve milestones.
2. CureQuest: Empowering Children with Cancer
Managing chronic illnesses can be extremely challenging for children, especially those battling cancer. CureQuest addresses this challenge by using gamification to create a supportive and engaging environment for young patients. The app employs game mechanics to reduce anxiety associated with medical procedures and treatments. Through interactive quests and challenges, children are motivated to adhere to treatment plans. By offering a sense of control and achievement, CureQuest empowers young patients to actively participate in their healing journey, ultimately leading to improved emotional well-being and treatment outcomes.
3. BlueStar Diabetes Management: Navigating Diabetes Through Gamification
BlueStar, an FDA-approved app, tackles the complex landscape of diabetes management through gamification. The app assists users in self-managing their diabetes by providing personalized recommendations and real-time guidance. Gamified elements such as goal-setting, progress tracking, and rewards encourage users to adopt healthier habits and adhere to their treatment regimens. By transforming diabetes management into an engaging and interactive experience, BlueStar empowers individuals to take control of their health and hence make informed decisions.
Benefits of Gamification in Healthcare
The transformative potential of gamification in healthcare extends far beyond its capacity to engage patients. This innovative approach offers a range of benefits that can revolutionize how healthcare is delivered and experienced:
1. Behavioral Change: Nurturing Positive Habits
Gamification excels in promoting behavioral change by breaking down health goals into manageable steps. The sense of accomplishment that accompanies achieving these small milestones fosters positive habits. Whether it's adopting a healthier diet, increasing physical activity, or quitting smoking, gamification encourages individuals to embark on transformative journeys one step at a time.
2. Data Collection: Insights for Personalized Care
Gamification platforms offer a unique opportunity to collect valuable data on user interactions, preferences, and progress. This data can provide healthcare providers with insights into patient behaviors, enabling personalized treatments and interventions. By leveraging data-driven insights, healthcare professionals can tailor recommendations to individual needs, improving the effectiveness of care plans.
3. Patient Empowerment: Taking Control of Health
If gamification were a Power Ranger, which one would it be? Empower-ranger. Gamification empowers patients by placing them at the center of their own health management. By actively participating in gamified activities and decision-making, individuals tend to develop a sense of autonomy and control over their well-being. This empowerment not only increases patient satisfaction but also massively encourages proactive engagement with healthcare strategies.
4. Emotional Well-being: Holistic Health Approach
Games, often conventionally looked down upon, have the capacity to enhance one’s emotional well-being by providing an outlet for stress relief, distraction, and creativity. Gamification can incorporate elements that promote relaxation, mindfulness, and stress management, contributing to a holistic approach to health and wellness.
5. Education and Awareness: Enhancing Health Literacy
Gamification serves as a powerful tool for educating individuals about health conditions, treatments, and preventive measures. Interactive games and simulations help users grasp complex medical concepts in an accessible and engaging manner. This improved health literacy empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their health. If recording these metrics can be encouraged in a gamified way, health care apps will have better data pool.
The remarkable potential of gamification in healthcare is reshaping the way we approach wellness, treatment, and patient engagement. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, the gamification of health experiences holds the promise of transforming patient-provider relationships, fostering a proactive approach to health management, and ultimately leveling up the well-being of individuals around across world.