Gamification has been used by schools and private business as a way to make learning more fun. Now, insurance companies are using the technique to change people’s behavior toward maintaining their health, according to Healthcare Dive. The idea is that the more individuals who pursue healthier lifestyles, the less burden they place on health insurance companies and health care providers.
The gamification efforts are being delivered through mobile apps. Some of the apps, such as the ones offered by Blue Cross, Cigna, and United Healthcare, invite participants to search for more information on healthy lifestyles, diet, sleep, and exercise, or the locations of in-network health care providers and hospitals. United is also working on an app called United Healthcare Motion. People carrying insurance will be given wearable devices that will track their daily activities, including the number of steps they walk. Participants will be given financial incentives for meeting certain goals. A number of other apps, such as Fitbit, MyFitnessPal, and Zombies Run also track activities.
The Affordable Care Act has built in incentives for helping people pursue healthier lifestyles. Younger people are more use to gaming, both as recreation and as a technique that delivers education. So marrying gamification with mobile apps is a no-brainer.
The trick is to continually evolve the gamification apps, to keep them fresh and prevent them from becoming stale. As more data is acquired that can be applied to wellness, these apps can constantly be refreshed with more versions. Thus healthier lifestyles can become something that is second nature.