Gamification and the Healthcare Industry: Enhancing Patient Engagement and Quality of Care

Gamification and the Healthcare Industry: Enhancing Patient Engagement and Quality of Care

VR Healthcare rehabilitation

Gamification has become an increasingly popular tool to enhance user engagement in non-gaming environments. Gamification involves applying gaming tools, principles, and mechanisms to healthcare environments, aiming to improve clinical outcomes. The primary focus of healthcare gamification is to provide a more personalized experience to patients, which improves their engagement with the healthcare process.

In this article, we will explore the various ways gamification is used in the healthcare industry to enhance patient engagement and overall quality of care.

What is Digital Healthcare Gamification?

Gamification involves applying gaming principles to non-gaming environments, such as learning systems, websites, and businesses, to increase user engagement and participation. Similarly, digital healthcare gamification applies gaming techniques, principles, and mechanisms to healthcare environments, aiming to improve clinical outcomes. The core of healthcare gamification is patient-centric, providing a more personalized experience to patients, which improves their engagement with the healthcare process. Patients can participate in different challenges and earn multiple badges as rewards, which motivates them to take a more active role in their health care activities.

Gamification in Healthcare Examples

Gamification is primarily used in health and wellness applications dealing with disease prevention, self-management, medication adherence, and telehealth programs. Some of the most prominent examples of gamified healthcare apps include:


Octalysis Design Pfizer/Sidekick

Imagine battling an illness and feeling alone in the journey. It’s challenging, and sometimes the simplest tasks, like remembering to take a medicine, can seem like climbing a mountain. Pfizer recognized this struggle that many face daily. We envisioned an app that would be more than just a digital reminder. A true virtual health companion, always there, always supportive. We helped transform a simple idea into a friendly app that not only reminds users about their pills but also educates and supports them every step of the way.


30% Decrease in patient dropout rates across disease spectrum

300% Increase in likelihood of achieving health goals

68%  Daily Active Users achieving health and medication adherence goals

Self-Management Medication and Chronic Condition Apps: Mango Health is an app that encourages patients to take their medication on time and informs them about the different side effects of the drugs. Another app, Manage My Pain, enables patients to track and document the location of pain in their bodies and suggests ways to combat the pain.

Fitness and Nutrition Apps: Apple’s health app is possibly the most used fitness application. It allows users to track their sleep, heart rate, hydration, and calorie count. MyFitnessPal is a nutritional app that helps users record their daily calorie intake and better manage their weight.

Emotional Health Apps: Loóna is an app that helps its users relax after a long, stressful day by creating the right environment for a good sleep. The Happify app has science-based activities for its users, improving their emotional wellbeing.

Healthcare Apps for Kids: My PlayHome Hospital app coaxes children to be more willing for hospital visits. MyTeeth application helps kids of age 1 to 9 to better brush their teeth with the proper technique and time limit.

Gamification in Health Care Training

Gamification is not only used to provide various benefits to patients, but it is also used to train healthcare staff. Many healthcare compliance consulting companies are assisting their staff to train better through the integration of health care applications that have gaming features. Information and skills are acquired better when the learner feels emotionally connected with the learning. Gamification provides different storylines, characters, achievement badges, and leader boards, which help the users learn from their mistakes in a virtual world rather than the real one. By completing different levels, learners get a sense of accomplishment, and the impression that they are moving forward with their learning process.

Benefits of Gamification in Healthcare

Gamification has several benefits for the healthcare industry, including:

More Patient Data: Through gamified health apps, a large amount of relevant patient data is collected. Patients are also encouraged to give personalized feedback, which helps find new trends to develop better products.

Better Education Programs: Physicians who used gamified online tools for learning showed better results than their peers who used traditional learning tools. Healthcare companies can use gamification to improve patient outcomes and trust, as well as to increase employee productivity while reducing the cost of training programs.

Improved Physical Therapy: Healthcare gamified apps are used in physical therapy with the addition of therapeutic tools to build a better therapeutic setting for the patients. These games not only improve health but also

provide a sense of enjoyment and motivation, leading to better adherence to prescribed therapeutic routines.

Improved Patient Engagement: One of the main benefits of gamification in healthcare is improved patient engagement. Patients are more likely to actively participate in their own healthcare when they are motivated by gamified experiences. This can lead to better patient outcomes, as patients are more likely to adhere to treatment plans and make lifestyle changes that support their health.

Reduced Healthcare Costs: Gamification can also lead to reduced healthcare costs by improving patient outcomes and reducing hospital readmissions. By encouraging patients to take an active role in their own healthcare, gamification can lead to better adherence to treatment plans and better management of chronic conditions, reducing the need for costly hospital stays.

Improved Patient Satisfaction: Gamification can also improve patient satisfaction by making healthcare experiences more engaging and personalized. Patients are more likely to enjoy their healthcare experiences when they are motivated by gamification and rewarded for their efforts. This can lead to improved patient retention and word-of-mouth referrals.

The Octalysis Framework and The Octalysis Group

The Octalysis Framework, developed by Yu-kai Chou, is considered the best way to design for gamification. The Octalysis Group is the world’s leading gamification company with a decade-long track record of working with healthcare and pharma industries. The framework consists of 8 core drives that influence human behavior, enabling the creation of engaging and personalized healthcare experiences.

By implementing the Octalysis Framework, healthcare organizations can better understand the motivations of their patients and healthcare providers, leading to the development of effective and engaging gamified solutions. The Octalysis Group works closely with healthcare organizations to design and implement gamification strategies that enhance patient engagement and overall quality of care.


Gamification is a powerful tool that can be used to improve patient engagement, outcomes, and satisfaction in healthcare. By applying gaming principles to healthcare environments, developers can create personalized experiences that motivate and reward users for taking an active role in their own healthcare. From fitness tracking apps to pharma marketing campaigns, gamification is becoming increasingly important in the healthcare sector. By adopting the Octalysis Framework and partnering with The Octalysis Group, healthcare organizations can design and implement effective gamification strategies to enhance patient engagement and improve the overall quality of care.

Want to know how we can help your organization flourish: Contact us

Leave a comment