Behavior Change: Improving Lives and Increasing Longevity with Gamification Part II

Behavior Change: Improving Lives and Increasing Longevity with Gamification Part II


Gabe Zichermann, Chair of the GSummit, leads panelists Andres Moran of Earndit, Ron Gutman of HealthTap, Robert Plourde of UnitedHealth Group, Dr. Steve Kimmel Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and Dan Brostek of Aetna in a discussion about the changes in consumer behavior in health and wellness.

Brostek speaks about gamification being the way Aetna is interested in plugging into the patient’s experience. But he points out that there is a fine line for an insurance company attempting to interact with a user in this way, and that it should be a multi-channel user experience.

Dr. Kimmel says that he believes doctors have at their core a wanting to help people. But part of the problem is the limited time they get with their patients. The sickest heart patients get very little time. He wants to know how doctors can have more tentacles out there to have that extra interaction and support?

Gutman wants to engage physicians. He speaks about a social construct that doesn’t involve a physician’s linear time. The physicians he work with average about 14 years of practice. His program realigns incentive outside those 8 minutes doctors average with patients. It gives them points, rewards and social accolades from their peers.

Moran explains that his business is designed around tracking users’ moves. It provides an effective measurement to work off of.

Plourde agrees that tracking provides immediate feedback. It’s a good beginning. But he cautions that there has to be more, a bigger piece using social interaction and education.

Moran talks about hyperbolic discounting – “Would you take 10 dollars today or 20 dollars in a month?” People tend to choose ten dollars today. However, by luring people with incentives now, perhaps people can be incrementally moved forward. It’s harder to imagine a future reward. Hence the difficulties behind getting people to lose weight.

We’re looking at lottery based incentives, says Dr. Kimmel. “If you don’t take your pill and your lottery number comes up, we tell you that we’re sorry but you didn’t take your pill so you don’t win.” The audience groans in sympathy with the losers. Zichermann points out the inherent cruelty of dangling the loss in their faces. But, points out Dr. Kimmel, it helps if people know they could win at any time.

Guttman wonders if we can we build games that are good enough. “The word fun has only come up once in this panel,” he says, “and it should have a central role in this discussion.”

Plourde suggests that we need a game that creates an entire eco system for people living a healthier life.


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