Majority of the people today have grown up playing video games, so introducing game mechanics in their lives to promote a healthier lifestyle is a natural solution for them. Dubbed as healthcare gamification, this is gaining widespread popularity thanks to the availability of smart phones which has made it increasingly easy to implement it.
According to Professor Kevin Werbach, healthcare gamification is used to change the behavior of people by providing them with motivation to continue doing the activities they either have to do or want to do. By subtly incorporating game mechanics in smart phone apps or healthcare campaigns, the targeted audience is encouraged to perform activities such as exercise regularly, take their medication, donate blood, and so on.
Healthcare gamification may be introduced by creating profiles for the audience. Having a profile is akin to having a virtual persona in a video game, and it allows one to track progress, complete achievements, earn rewards, and share results, which are all video game mechanics people are familiar with.
For example, a “get fit” app may use a profile to include a person’s basic information, their height, weight, and other relevant metrics. As the person progresses with their getting fit routine, the profile will be updated to reflect the progress, either through graphs, tables, or other innovative graphics.
Going along with the same example, to keep the app user interested and motivated, the app could provide a visible list of achievements, such as performing a certain health task a day, losing or gaining a particular amount of weight in a set period of time, etc. The inclusion of such “mission” based game mechanic, where the person is encouraged to reach a certain goal, can be a huge motivator.
However, these achievements must be backed by rewards to create a sense of fulfilment. People are generally driven more by the promise of rewards. So, healthcare gamification should not be any different and incorporate some form of rewards to encourage the users to commit to their tasks. These rewards can be either in the form of something as simple as virtual badges to something as tangible as cash, depending on the app or the campaign. Providing rewards is a key game mechanic which keeps people playing a game, so this is very important.
Another key game mechanic is the sense of competition, so the profile that has been mentioned earlier could have a feature to share the results of the user. This targets the users need to compete, and when their friends and relatives see their achievements and rewards, they too will be motivated to stick to their own tasks to earn the same rewards. The integration of social media sites makes it very easy to share results and compete with friends, making healthcare gamification lose it mobile app a viable method to encourage people.
Gamification has been spreading among a lot of industries, but healthcare gamification is one of the more innovative and healthier approaches to solving a lot of the problems people are generally unwilling or uncomfortable to deal with. The aforementioned game mechanics are only an introduction to the endless possibilities of healthcare gamification. These mechanics may be tweaked to suit the target audience or particular healthcare campaigns. There are many other mechanics which could be translated into real life scenarios, making healthcare not just a necessary element of life, but a fun one at that. For more info visit : www.makeyourlifeagame.com