Can Healthcare Games Change The Game Of Healthcare?

Now that the Games for Health Conference is over, I’ve had a little time to reflect on possible implications for Pharma and Healthcare Marketing.

Please read my second guest blog at PharmaExec Blog for the Seven Key Implications I see for Pharma and Healthcare as we move into the “virtual” future of healthcare marketing. Implications range from prevention, diagnosis and awareness to adherence and training.

If you’re new to the concept of health games, based on the conference, health games seem to generally fall into six areas:  

  1. Exergaming-The largest category of health games, led by Wii products. Continued growth is expected by building stronger social community and competitive features, adding virtual and new workouts to keep it fun, and expanding mobile synergies.
  2. Brain Fitness or Braingaming focuses on cognitive training aimed at improving or maintaining mental function; expected to grow significantly over the next five years.
  3. Emotional Well-being and Mental Health is an emerging healthgame category based on cognitive therapy and interventions to improve coping skills, insight and resiliency.  There is a new game being developed by Energy Inside & MIT Media Lab called “Lemonade”. Through interactive social media, commonsense reasoning psychology and a learning recommendation engine, Energy Inside will deliver micro-interventions (pep) that are intended to shift mindset when a person needs it most.
  4. Healthy Behavior games rely largely on the principles of behavior change and modification, often targeting chronic conditions, such as diabetes, HIV, or other challenges such as ‘eating healthy’.  Examples:  Humana, The Partnership For An HIV-Free Generation and Warner Brothers called Pamoja Mtaani (also considered a Causegame), or games marrying brand building and education, which are often called Advergames.  A few examples in Pharma include “Don’t Blow It”,  developed for Nasonex by Edelman, and Mirapex for Restless Legs Syndrome.
  5. Rehabilitative or Therapygaming.  Examples include Guitar Hero III to help upper-extremity amputees, games to help Motor Rehabilitation, Attention Deficits and Schizophrenia, burn victims and motivating compliance of postoperative breathing exercises.
  6. Training Through Immersive Learning Simulations and Virtual Worlds to improve performance and quality. Friday’s blog outlined the advanced learning simulation and technology developed by Virtual Heroes for emergency and acute training and care. Other simulation and virtual worlds were applied to dental surgery, and nursing education.

Other good articles covering the Games For Health Conference include: Boston Globe’s Video Games Boost Patient Rehabilitation which highlights the work of a team of Johns Hopkins’ University engineers who modified the Guitar Hero for people with amputated hands, 5 Ways Gaming May Transform The Future Of Healthcare & Wellness  by Rohit Bhargava of the Influential Marketing Blog, and  Drawing Parallels of Web 2.0 and Exergames by Biray Alsac.

Health Games are quickly emerging as a new way to bring fun, engagement and interaction on a human level.  Anyone have a good example of a health egame they’d like to share?


Picture: courtesy of PharmExec and Wikipedia