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Gamification Of Healthcare: Harnessing Games And Rewards For Healthier Behaviour

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

✍🏻 Chidinma Nwonye | SEO Writer & Poet


What is gamification in healthcare? 👾

Gamification in healthcare can be seen as game-like elements like rewards, points, and competitions in various contexts to motivate and engage patients.

The healthcare sector like every other aspect of our world today is rapidly driving to a critical point due to technological advancements and other innovative factors. These innovations give rise to the need for solutions that combat solutions such as healthcare expenses, patient motivation, patient monitoring, etc.

Fortunately, gamification is a concept that has proven to provide the health sector with adequate practical means to consistently engage patients and boost overall results. By making it easier for health personnel to motivate their patients to properly engage in their health improvement, Gamification has increased utilization in this sector.

Research shows that the healthcare sector has the largest growth rate of gamification at a whopping 47%. This approach boosts a patient’s commitment to treatment and subsequently save cost for healthcare personnel. General principles of behavioural principles are implemented to motivate patients to participate in health behaviours. Some of these behaviours include losing weight, taking drugs, or frequently exercising.


What are the benefits of gamification in healthcare? 📱

Gamification has a high potential to improve overall healthcare by presenting it as more engaging, effective, and interactive. Major benefits of healthcare gamification include;

#1. Improved Patient Engagement

The aim of including gamification to boost patient engagement in their health is to enable patients to feel motivated to stick to their treatment plans. Various games can assist patients to set goals, track progress, and get rewarded for scaling milestones.

Furthermore, it aids in creating a sense of fulfillment and makes the process enjoyable for the patients. A major framework that can be utilized is known as Octalysis, which is a design framework that classifies human motivation into eight drivers.

These key drivers include accomplishment, meaning, ownership, empowerment, unpredictability, social influence, scarcity, and avoidance. A healthcare adherence app can utilize the ‘octalysis’ design to produce a system where patients can be rewarded with points for taking medication and treatments on time.

Additionally, this gamification approach harnesses the impact of social influence by enabling the patients to participate in support groups and compete against each other.

#2. Saving of Cost for Healthcare Personnel

As a result of increases in healthcare costs, healthcare providers get pressured to offer quality care at reduced costs. By utilizing incentives and games to better manage critical conditions, they can lessen the number of hospitalizations and office visits, thereby saving costs.

Gamification can further aid patients in managing their health issues to prevent complications that could result in hospital visits. For instance, a hypertensive patient can use games and reward points to manage his blood pressure and reduce regular hospital visits.

Gamification can subsequently enable doctors to better identify high-risk individuals by tracking their data from game activities.

Overall, these data allow them to track the progress of patients and provide targeted care while saving the costs of late treatment.

#3. Enhanced Patient Education

The various gamification strategies have displayed a high potential for enhancing patient education regarding healthcare. Patients get familiarized with healthcare concepts and tips as they engage more in interactive games and apps.

Healthcare institutions utilize this means to enlighten patients about matters of nutrition, heart functions, exercises, stress relief, etc. through apps like Decide and CardioTeach. By including gamification in healthcare, patients can become advocates and work hand-in-hand with providers to design treatment plans.

By pursuing studies in healthcare with an emphasis on technology, students can cultivate the required skills needed to use gamification methods effectively.


What are the limitations of gamification in healthcare? 🏥

As effective as the implementation of gamification in healthcare has been, there have been certain challenges that raise concerns.

One main challenge is the insufficient consensus on specific games most effective in promoting behavioural changes in healthcare.

There is a high need for in-depth research to figure out particular design features and game mechanics that are effective for diverse patients. The issue of privacy and protection of patient data is a major concern as they must be secured in accordance with standard regulations.

Overall, healthcare providers need to collaborate with developers to establish clear metrics and goals for the ultimate achievement of desired outcomes.

The idea of incorporating gamification in healthcare to improve patient education, engagement, and cost reduction holds high expectations. By harnessing gaming elements like competition, social influence, and competition, health personnel can create a fun and practical environment for patients to manage their health properly.

Isobel Thompson, Content Writer at Write in the Loop

Written by: Chidinma Nwonye (Content Writer)

Grace Pountney, Founder and Director at Write in the Loop

Edited by: Grace Pountney (Founder and Director)

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