How Gamification Fuels Modern Healthcare

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Gamification in medtech is certainly becoming commonplace. It is likely going to get incorporated in most support and wellness environments. What we think gamification is, today will tomorrow become transformative and immersive experiences. The concepts of fun-learning, rewards and point collecting system will eventually inculcate a more meaningful engagement to drive long-term behavioral change. Currently gaming elements laden with points and rewards are added to devices to encourage regular and correct dosage of medicine or rewarding patients in medtech.

Similarly we use big data to create gamified environments in order to motivate public participation but with IOT integrated into our lifestyle, we will witness the concept go beyond health wearables and apps. Before exploring how apps are transforming the healthcare industry, let’s try and understand how the idea came into existence.

The Origin Of Gamification

While the term was coined in 2002 by Neil Pening, the idea of gamification is not new. We can find a similar approach used in marketing to reward loyal customers long before the digital world ever existed. However, the phenomenon took a distinctive turn in the recent years. In 1981, American Airlines introduced Advantage, the first frequent flyer program followed by Holiday Inn that launched the Hotel loyalty program. Travel and tourism, beyond any doubt, was the first industry to use reward system for loyal and regular customers.

Soon after the gaming generation was born. In the early 90s, 30% of American households own an NES. By the term of the millennia, a serious gaming initiative in tourism, healthcare and education was taken. The rest is history.

Now we can observe stand-alone gamified websites or plain websites adding point systems to improve user-engagement. The idea gained momentum worldwide after the Gamification Summit in San Francisco in 2010. But how is the idea implemented in the healthcare and fitness industry?

How Gamification Contributes To Healthcare?

Games developed to influence health behaviors have shown positive results. Health-related game features include:

  • Focusing attention on meeting goals and challenges
  • Documenting successes creating optimism for achieving goals like recovery from illness
  • Providing choice and control to increase personal motivation

So far gamification has been intuitively integrated in various fitness, wellness, health and recovery programs. Let’s highlight some major achievements.

Ayogo Is Your Digital Support


Ayogo is empowered with an interesting gaming experience for patients who have recently been diagnosed with a chronic condition such as diabetes. Ayogo does not only incorporate the powerful motivation of gaming but also uses social networking to enable patients to develop healthy habits according to their condition. It uses a behavior change framework and rewards patients for persistence and adherence according to doctor prescribed program.

Reflexion Health Is Your Virtual Assist

Reflexion Health

Reflexion Health developed a virtual instruction platform to offer physical therapy experience that is usually discontinued by patients. To counter that common problem, this is a smart virtual instruction platform that allows patients to follow an animated instructor model that guides them to follow him in exercise. It uses the motion guided technology and the performance data can later be analyzed.

Cog Cubed Enabling Patients With Challenges

Now this is a company that develops game based applications for testing and challenging cognitive abilities. The patients of traumatic brain injury, Autism, Alzheimers and ADHD who face the challenge of understanding and executing tasks can gradually learn to solve problems as they play cog cubed. The player has to use a set of hand-held cubes that has animated graphics on a digital interface. The player’s performance is then measured in terms of their attention span and ability to execute tasks in a playful manner.

Hubbub Health Is Your Wellness Partner

HubBub Health

It is designed to help companies improve the health and overall productivity of their employees. HubBub enables a lively social environment where players can encourage each other and even celebrate successes with virtual fist pumps. Challenges can either be created or chosen by the participants such as:

  • eating something orange
  • walking 8000 steps with a friend

All achievements are noted and the participants can earn badges on them.

Cohero Health Targets Respiratory Health

Cohero Health

Cohero Health is an app for patients who are forgetful of their medication and skipping a dose can have dire consequences for them. This app allows users to customize according to their needs and assists patients with respiratory ailments. It lets the patient choose and name their own hero character and rewards points for adherence to the treatment schedule. Cohero also stores the information needed by the physician to see the patient’s adherence to medication.

Mango Health Offers Monetary Reward For The Persistent

Mango Health

This tool allows patients to earn monetary rewards simply for taking their medication. The app issues certain reminders and alerts so that patients can stay on schedule and earn $5 or $10 gift cards to Target or Gap. They have also collaborated with ASPCA so the rewards you earn can be given away in dollar donations to animal care organization.

Pact Forces You To Commit To Your Health


Of all the healthcare, fitness and wellness apps, this one actually entails you into a pact. With this mobile app, you risk losing money if falter with their commitment to exercise. This app by GymPact sets a dietary and physical exercise goal for you and asks for a financial amount that you are going to lose in case you miss those commitments. Basically pact is an ecosystem where some users are paying for others who faith fulfill their commitments to monetary points.

Welltok, Inc. Optimizes Health And Fitness Goals


Welltok is a digital answer to consumers who aim to optimize their health but lack motivation. Welltok organizes the ecosystem of apps, tracking devices, content, communities, wellness and condition management programs for population health managers and creates personalized health itineraries for consumers to drive behavior change. The platform aligns actions and behaviors with the right incentives and rewards to motivate consumers to reach their health and wellness goals, ranging from reducing stress and quitting smoking to managing diabetes or depression.

Bandit’s Shark Showdown For Physical Rehabilitation

It is a gamification app that combines cutting-edge robotics, neuroscience, and game design to treat patients early after a stroke. A stroke causes tissue death and resultant repair process. This repair process can be influenced by behavior if performed early after the stroke, within one to three months. The Bandit’s Shark Showdown was developed as a rehabilitation exercise game to be played during this time.

Mehreen is a social media buff and design blogger, who keeps a keen eye on graphic design trends. She has a passion for experimenting with design ideas, and wouldn’t mind if it means going out of her way to find them in Timbuktu. Follow her on twitter for daily inspirations and findings.

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