This is a digital era where technology has touched nearly every industrial sector today. Since past two decades, it has firmly set its eyes on the healthcare industry. Currently, there are several applications in the market that are functioning as health trackers and reminders for patients. These apps use alerts and messages to notify patients after a fixed interval to make healthier choices. Many researches have shown that gamification is a promising way that can offer better-quality patient self-management and care.
What is gamification in healthcare?
In the context of digital health, gamification is a technique used in health and wellness applications that are concerned about self-management, prevention of diseases, medication adherence, medical education-related simulations, and some telehealth programs.
Doctors have realized that motivation is the crucial challenge when it comes to patient engagement. Several applications have been developed in the last few years that use rewards—the base of most of the gamification strategies—to motivate patients to recover their health.
Growing demand for gamification in the medical industry
We live in the stage of development, where internet is considered as the greatest and primary source of awareness among the public. The growing internet usage is making people even more aware about their health and several health disorders—that usually are an outcome of their modern lifestyle which is currently being adopted at an increased speed. Nowadays, the population all across the globe is accepting digital tools to keep a track of their health data. For example, people are using various gadgets that are able to keep a track of their pulse, footsteps, and many others things. People have now moved toward various healthcare apps which offer direct contact with their physician or concerned doctor and keep them posted about their health in just few clicks, with almost no cost involved. Moreover, growing usage of technology with the help of smartphones is seen as one of the major reasons for the growing demand for gamification in healthcare industry.
Innovations and developments in the healthcare gamification sector
Gamification in healthcare industry has been in increasingly in debate these days. Numerous medical and app development companies are now investing in gamification for enhancing their patient engagement. For example, SuperBetter is an application that provides rewards for accomplishing self-care goals and mental health activities. As per SuperBetter, a randomized controlled experiment led by the University of Pennsylvania discovered that playing SuperBetter for 40 days enhances flexibility, optimism, social support, and players' confidence in their own capacity to do well and accomplish their goals. Also, the users of SuperBetter had comparatively less signs of anxiety and depression and were visibly happier and more contented with their lives.
Besides this, Apple is another company that is setting one of the most fascinating examples of application of gamification in healthcare. This company offers badges for achieving fitness goals such as hiking or cycling for Apple Watch and iPhone users. It also offers rewards on special occasions, for instance, on Earth Day April 22, a user can unlock a special badge by exercising for additional 30 minutes on that day.
Apple has been inventing such applications to help people control their own health with the help of gadgets such as iPhone and Apple Watch as a delivery platform. This strategy has empowered Apple to fuel the sale of Apple Watches.
Not just in applications, gamification is playing significant role by providing opportunities for hospitals as well. For instance, Nemours Children’s Hospital, located in Florida have joined hands with video game designers to discover methods to develop gaming experiences to help patients maintain their health. The hospital is sponsoring an event named as MeGa Health Jam to inspire app developers to come up with an idea, for instance, video games that offer rewards for patients for gaining knowledge about disease prevention.
Future scope of gamification in medical and wellness sector
Gamification is considered as one of the most incredible ways for patient selfcare as it influences their normal behavior for competition and success. This is a technology that adds fascinating features in websites and apps which encourages people to meet their personal challenges and keep an eye on their health in a funny and interesting way. A report by Research Dive, indicates that the market for healthcare gamification is on the verge of gaining heights by growing at a growth rate of 11.9% in the upcoming years. Rising acceptance for fitness apps and wearables equipped with gaming features are an obvious signal that people all across the world are liking it and is one of the major reasons for boosting the growth of this market.