The medical fraternity is constantly on the look for improving clinical outcomes and with that goal in mind, gamification in healthcare has been steadily gaining momentum.
Gamification, which by and large falls into the category of behavioral economics principles has been transformed through the implementation of digital strategies and technology. The application of gamification principles provide an insight into how an individual usually makes decisions that create beneficial outcomes for himself, at times, he demonstrates irrationality by acting against self-interest, even when the results of such actions is known. This behavior grants insights into the broad field of disease prevention and treatment. Such irrational decisions may include smoking, obesity, drug abuse, etc.
Gamification of certain medical programs, like implementation of a healthy diet, have successfully resulted in modifying behavior and helping patients achieve success. The background for this is fairly simple to grasp. We enjoy playing and we enjoy winning. The game Candy Crush for example, has been downloaded more than 2.73 billion times! Although the game is entertaining, albeit pointless, it can provide a stable ground for experiments on treating unhealthy lifestyles through positive reinforcement and simple “winning” mechanisms.
From a technical point of view, the FDA has recognized the benefit of software and technology in healthcare, and has regulated a large number of medical devices that have been designed to diagnose, treat, mitigate and even prevent diseases of different kinds.
The role of medical practitioners has not yet been well established, however, as more and more professionals understand this sphere of treatment, it may create a gap in the market, resulting in the creation of digital health practitioners, who specialize in healthcare apps and identify the right program for patients, in unison with the doctor’s prescription.
This is a new age for medical technology. Digitization is experiencing an explosive growth surge and it is the responsibility of professionals in the field- doctors, designers, developers and pharmaceuticals, to create the new tools that can help drive humanity forward safely.