SUGAR-COAT THE PILL WITH GAMIFICATION
These days, it seems like you unlock a reward or achievement on every social media site and platform you use. Even sites like Wikipedia and Q&A sites like Stack Overflow have gamification concepts integrated into their community. So can the health industry be gamified too? It would surely make life more pleasant for everyone!
As a matter of fact, gamification is already taking the health world by storm. Fitbands, RunKeeper and many other social media and technology-based health companies already offer a number of achievements to unlock based on performance. However, most of the focus is on exercise and, while it might motivate existing athletes to compete, very few of them have caught on to the point where they are inspiring people to be more active. So what are some areas where gamification can be added that do not involve steps, miles or calories burned, and which you can ask of your healthcare provider or employer?
1. Give credit for visiting the healthcare provider. Sure, exercise is an important part of your health, but so is preventive care, such as routine check-ups and vaccination. Including these actions in gamification leads to a more well-rounded service.
2. Get companies to offer incentives involving games. There are already companies out there offering incentive program rewarding certain actions that their customers or employees take. Let’s say a wellness exam is 25 points, a meeting with a health coach is 20 points, etc. Convert point values to real benefits like gift cards, and make signing up super easy so that everyone is encouraged to participate!
3. Make the benefits tangible. Yes, we all love the way we feel after we exercise, almost no-one will dispute that. However, it’s getting motivated to go out and be healthy that’s the hard part. Offer a carrot to get people out there and achieving their goals to sweeten the deal!
4. Give the option for private or public results. I don’t know about other people, but my personal health is a private matter and one that I’m sensitive about. The fact that so many gamification systems require sharing results publicly is a huge deterrent for people like me. Give people the opportunity to measure their achievements against their own benchmarks, and I’m sure they will be much more likely to sign up and continue using the system over the long haul.
These are 4 amazing ways to add gamification to the healthcare space. You can also learn from the best examples already out there. Can you think of any others?
As a pediatrician, I wanted to increase patient engagement so decided to develop a loyalty program. It rewards not only clinical, but social and financial measures. Just last month, I taught a course about my process at my EHR User Conference. The best part-patient behavior IS changing!
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