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Gamification & Healthcare!! – a weird combo!!


Gamificationis actually the use of game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences.

Does Gaming and Healthcare sounds like a weird combo ??
Yes Indeed, but the intersection of gaming and health shows great promise in improving the health care and wellness.

The most important aspect of this phenomenon, as a personal opinion, is the effort to bridge the concepts of health care and games or fun. we  have been under the assumption for hundreds of years that health care is something very serious (and why not the answer is very simple – for most of history an interaction with
the health care system was a reasonable predictor of one’s demise). Few years back we also had the notion of laughter therapy.

The idea of using gaming in rehab is similar. why not make it as much fun as possible. This also illustrates another important phenomenon – bringing care into people’s lives using everyday (ambient) technologies. It is really a very exciting trend.

Health eGames is driving a paradigm shift in health and medicine. Medical Wellness needs to be marketed in new ways as, Gaming seems to be yet another new way of influencing people to exercise.

Health eGames have now been vetted by significant research efforts, and the data shows that people can, in fact, “game” their way to a healthy outcome – whether that be managing diabetes, recovering from cancer, improving eating habits or losing weight etc.

Leaders in the health care sector are now embracing video games or eGames as an integral part of a digitally enabled health culture.

Well to answer some of the W5H (What Where When Why Who How) questions. Here we go!!

Each one of us have played video games at some point of time or everyday in our life. There is no “agism” when it comes to gaming.

This is one factor which drives the amalgamation of the two extremes!!(healthcare n gaming)

Every day the healthcare insurances are inflated with new members joining in, with the intention to reap the best benefits out of it. But do we really achieve this – well there is always mixed response over here.

Health can never be compared with any other commodity in the market.
For eg: the iPod we get from a Walmart or a BestBuy Store will almost cost the same, but the same logic does not hold good in case of visiting different hospitals for the same disease or symptoms.

To sum up the Insurance Premium we pay never remains constant but keeps varying which is a “worry” on the part of the “payee” and the “insurance company”. With the BIGPicture it also helps the Corporates and companies to reduce the expenses on insurance claims.

The win-win situation for both the parties would be to just educate the patients about the health hazards and how to deal with it. This can best be achieved using a video game or online game plot wherein checkpoints are defined and some sets of rewards are cedited at each stage(to arouse curiosity and zeal to move on). As the game progresses health benefit messages and tips can be shared to enrich/enlighten the user’s knowledge.

In one way the User gets benefited with loads of knowledge from health front which will reduce the frequent hospitalization and emergency cases will be reduced to a minimum and hence shrinking the expenditure on the part of the Insurance companies!!.

Games can also be designed or tied up with the social networking sites to send alerts and reminders for the prescription and thus streamlining the medication intake, which is always a trouble once the patient is  discharged from the Hospital.

The current gaming trends of PS2, XBOX, Wii, Nintendo also add on to the health benefits making games more real,lively and dynamic different from the monotonous movement of joystick in the past.It helps a lot in loosing a lot of calories.

The speed at which the Games (Serious games with a Message) are created and taking off is startling.

The good part with gaming is that it can be operated either via a laptop , system, internet or a mobile.

To cite a few examples of the Gamification approach in heathcare :

  • Ben’s Game is a video game designed to help kids fight cancer
  • The Wii is finding another use as a tool to help physical therapy
  • SharpBrains and Lumosity offers the games to improve the intelligence and potentially treat learning disorders
  • Burn Center – a “medically-accurate” simulation of mass-scale casualty burn treatment.
  • Game4Health

Happy Learning!! 🙂

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