Gamification has taken off in the healthcare industry as more healthcare providers realize the impact of gamification on their patients’ engagement with their treatments and therapies.
However, gamification’s impact on the healthcare industry doesn’t stop there. More patients are reporting increased attention to their health, with health and wellness apps that are gamifying healthy practices like dieting, working out and regularly scheduling routine doctors’ visits and checkups.
This increased engagement of patients in their own health and wellness has had tremendous implications on their quality of life which include;
- Increased awareness about their own conditions
- Increased compliance with prescribed therapies and treatments
- Reduced spending on healthcare as people are taking better care of themselves
- Gamification has made it easier to beat harmful addictions like cigarette smoking and alcoholism
- Increased efficiency in scheduling doctor’s visits and reduced time in waiting areas
- Reduced stigma around going to the hospital and seeing the doctor
- Easier to catch diseases early before they get worse or even terminal
- Increased awareness and engagement among patients’ families, support systems and caregivers
From the list above, the impact of gamification on the healthcare industry cannot be understated. With gamification, the healthcare industry is achieving record-breaking levels of engagement, leading to improved patient care and better recovery rates.
One of the core drives of motivation identified by the Octalysis Framework is Epic Meaning and Calling (Core Drive 1). This Core Drive is at the heart of gamification in healthcare since being healthy and well is integral to achieving any life goals and ambitions we have.
Gamification is expected to keep growing in healthcare. Research and Markets reported that the global healthcare gamification industry is expected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 55% from 2017 to 2022.
Let’s look at some examples of gamification in healthcare. We have identified some of the most innovative and influential apps that are gamifying healthcare. These web and mobile platforms primarily focus on the following areas of healthcare;
- Self-management medication
- Chronic disease management
- Nutrition and fitness
- Physical therapy and rehabilitation
- Awareness and sensitization
- Emotional and mental health
- Healthy habit forming
- Healthcare best practices for children
Most healthcare gamification apps fall within one or two of these categories. So without further ado, here is our list of some of the most impressive healthcare gamification examples on the market today.
8 Examples of gamification in healthcare
Mango Health is a mobile application that enables patients to comply with their medication regimens. The app allows patients to set schedules for when they are supposed to have their medications and what conditions need to be met. The app will promptly remind the patients to take their meds when it is time and also offer information on the likely outcomes and side effects of interactions between certain medications.
In addition to reminding patients when to take their medication, Mango Health tracks each patient’s progress and rewards them with points whenever they take their meds on time and comply with their regimens. These points give the users a chance to win gift cards and charitable donations in a raffle that is drawn weekly.
Mango Health motivates patients to engage by giving them ownership and control of their treatment (Core Drive 4) and a sense of accomplishment (Core Drive 2). Patients also feel like they are contributing to something bigger than themselves (Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning and Calling) since their points can be used to donate to a charity organization.
Galaxies of Hope
Galaxies of Hope was a mobile application launched by Novartis in 2018 to help patients suffering from neuroendocrine cancer deal with their conditions by relating to other people who have gone through similar experiences with the disease (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness). Users also feel like they are contributing to something greater than themselves (Core Drive 1: Epic Meaning and Calling) which can be a great source of hope for people dealing with terminal conditions like neuroendocrine cancer.
The application uses storytelling to take players on a journey through a different world in a hot air balloon and experience the stories of other patients that have dealt with the disease. To achieve this, the game invites patients to use its interactive features to document their unique journeys with neuroendocrine cancer.
Novartis hopes that Galaxies of Hope can raise public awareness for neuroendocrine cancer and give patients and family members a way to cope with the disease.
Manage My Pain App
The Manage My Pain app does precisely what the name suggests; it helps patients locate, describe and manage their pain. With this app, patients can identify what symptoms they are experiencing, whether it’s headaches, stress or lack of sleep. They are then invited to indicate the degree of severity of this symptom. They can also indicate the physical part of the body that is experiencing this pain.
The app then analyses the patient’s inputs and gives them a report of their pain status using visual tools like charts and graphs. The report also indicates to the patients what makes their pain worse and what improves it. The patients can then follow these guidelines to manage their pain accordingly.
Patients can then share these reports with their doctors to ease the diagnosis process and to get the patient started on their prescribed treatment as soon as possible. A recent study found that patients with chronic pain who used Manage My Pain had lower levels of pain anxiety and showed a greater reduction in pain catastrophizing than patients who didn’t use the app.
My Playhome Hospital
My Playhome Hospital is the first app on our list designed specifically for children. Designed by Playhome Software Ltd, My Playhome Hospital is designed to help kids get prepared for doctors’ visits by allowing them to play digital doctor.
Kids can use the game to get familiar with the doctor’s examination room and eliminate the stigma children usually have around seeing the doctor. Kids can choose from multiple characters in the game, including a doctor. As a doctor, kids can check a patient’s heartbeat, administer a shot, replace IV bags and even take X-rays.
This app makes children comfortable with the hospital environment and the vocabulary and gives them the comfort and confidence they need to visit the doctor. As a result of this increased engagement with the medical practice, they are much less resistant to doctors’ visits than they were before.
Akili designed Evo in a research partnership with Pfizer to help patients detect early signs of Alzheimer’s to drive down the cost of diagnosis and increase the chances of early detection of Alzheimer’s in patients.
Alzheimer’s is an expensive disease to diagnose, and patients usually require PET scans to detect amyloid plaques in the brain. However, with Evo, potential Alzheimer’s patients have a much cheaper way to find out if they need the scan or not.
In the game, players are required to navigate an alien down a river and tap the screen every time an obstacle appears in their path. This is designed to test the player’s cognitive ability and how well they cope with interference.
However, while Evo was initially intended for early detection of Alzheimer’s, a 2017 study found that it had helped improve cognitive control in children with sensory processing disorder.
Physera, which Omada Health acquired in 2020, is a mobile application designed to help patients recover from musculoskeletal conditions with the help of physiotherapy. Physera has a myriad of workouts and therapies created by physical therapists to help patients recover from musculoskeletal injuries and persistent pain.
Upon signing up, patients are paired with licensed physical therapists who diagnose them remotely and design physiotherapy regimens that are customized to the patient’s unique needs. The patients can perform their exercises under the supervision of a physical therapist who can monitor their form and progress (Core Drive 2: Development and Accomplishment). Furthermore, the desire to take care of one’s physical body is deeply motivated by a desire for a better quality life and happiness (Core Drive 1).
Physera is aimed at patients who want to access remote physical therapy or employers who want to help their employees deal with the fatigue and physical strain that comes from doing their jobs.
The HealthPrize Action Engine
The HealthPrize Action Engine is a platform launched by Walgreens in conjunction with HealthPrize Technologies to help increase patient adherence to medical treatments and therapies. The platform uses gamification tools like pop quizzes, points and leaderboards to monitor and track the patients’ progress while taking their prescribed medication.
Patients earn points for taking their meds in the prescribed time and doses and can compete with others on the platform (Core Drive: Social Influence and Relatedness). In addition, the platform integrates seamlessly into Walgreen’s digital patient platform, which tracks which medicine a patient has received and ensures adherence to the therapy through timely reminders and alerts when the meds are due.
The Action Engine makes it easier and more fun for patients to take the drugs they have received and turns taking meds into a fun social competition with others on the platform. It also makes refilling prescriptions easier since it enables Walgreens to track the patient’s progress with their treatment and will know when the medication is done.
Gym Pact is a mobile application that uses behavioral psychology techniques like positive and negative reinforcement in conjunction with gamification to get users to keep their gym routines and not skip workout days.
The application works in the form of a literal pact that the user makes with themselves, where they commit to doing a certain amount of workouts in a certain period of time. The user then wagers an amount of money they should lose if they fail to achieve their workout goals. Users can lose between $5 and $10 for every day they skip their workout routine. This feature leverages Core Drive 8 of the Octalysis Framework (Loss and Avoidance) to motivate users to stick to their workout plans.
The amount of money lost by users who fail to keep their pacts is pooled into a fund that goes to the ones who achieve their workout goals (Core Drive 5: Social Influence and Relatedness). This also appeals to Core Drive 2 (Development and Accomplishment), so users are well incentivized and motivated to achieve their weekly workout goals.
How can they improve their gamification
These are some of the best examples of gamification in the healthcare industry. However, as good as they are, there is still a lot of room for improvement.
With the Octalysis Framework mentioned above, these brands could motivate users to emote towards the brand and create emotional attachments that cannot be broken easily. This can happen with gamification that leverages the Core Drives on the right side of the Octalysis quadrant.
These right sided Core Drives like Epic Meaning, Creativity, Social Influence and Unpredictability give customers the room they need to express themselves and feel like they are forming unique bonds with your brand. These bonds will stand the test of time and increase your customers’ engagement with your brand exponentially.
They will also give your customers a feeling of being a part of something much bigger than themselves which will translate to fierce loyalty towards your brand. These are some of the ways Octalysis could improve the gamification mentioned above and your attempts at gamifying your customer journey.
These are examples of platforms that are pioneering gamification in the healthcare industry. Are you interested in learning more about how you can integrate gamification into your healthcare offering to your patients? Please contact us today to get started on your journey to gamify your healthcare services and attract more clients.