How UCSF Bennioff Children’s Hospital Employed Gamification In the Healthcare Environment
The medical field is hectic: stressful on good days, devastating on bad days. Amidst all the chaos, individuals are completing crucial tasks that can be the difference between life and death for a patient. The work done by medical professionals and other hospital staff often goes unnoticed. The leaders at UCSF Bennioff Children’s Hospital decided to make a change. The main goals they wanted to achieve with their gamification system were:
- Increase communication between staff
- Enable peer recognition of achievements
- Encourage management and staff teamwork
- Engage and motivate staff
- Improve outcomes for patients
The gamification application developed had several features that met the goals set by the hospital leaders. Hospital staff all received an account so that they could recognize the accomplishments of their peers. They are able to search for fellow employees and write a short description of what the person did to help. One post stated, “Kazumi Taniguchi recognized Naomi Wong for quickly ordering some office supplies for me and getting the water filter changed.” Another example said, “Kymberly Bartlo recognized Kristin Chu for keeping me sane every single day, always finding new ways to help, and patiently holding my hand along the slow learning curve of the complex staffing and financing and recharging world of ISU.” Not every recognition has to be for something huge. Even the little tasks are important. It feels nice to know peers notice the hard work being completed each day.
The system kept track of the recognition each individual received for various time periods (weekly, six months, and all time). Hospital leadership reward the staff members with the most recognition for the week. There is also a chatting tool for reaching out to managers and other staff members to encourage communication.
Over time, nursing teams developed a friendly competition. The contest rewarded the group with the highest patient satisfaction each week. The patient satisfaction went from 86% up to 97% over the course of only two contests. The sense of progression was very motivating for nursing staff and other employees.
The use of gamification does not always need a complicated overhaul of every system set in place. In this case, it came down to tracking the recognition for each staff member and rewarding them for their work. The contest between different nursing teams significantly increased patient satisfaction. The entire gamification project left staff felt more appreciated. Having their hard work recognized by management and their peers was a huge morale boost.
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