Growing up as an avid gamer, I can’t help but feel thrilled about the surge in gamifcation; the concept of incorporating game elements into non-game contexts. The ideas of gamification motivated me to recently take a course on gamification.
The course was taught by a reputable gamification expert, Professor Kevin Werbach, from University of Pennsylvania’s renowned Wharton School of Business. He was recently depicted in Daniel Pink’s blog post, “The How’s and Why’s of Gamification: 4 Questions for Kevin Werbach.” (By the way, whether you’re an avid gamer or not, I highly recommend you take Professor Werbach’s next offering).
Let’s face it, many facets of healthcare can be quite distressing at times. I’ve seen this firsthand in the pharmacy, where patients came in to pick up their medications past the estimated refill date because they would forget to take their medications at appropriate times.
The same notion could be applied to the subtleties involved with clinical development as well. Are there better ways for clinical trial participants to be engaged in their clinical trial journey? I say yes.
What if we could add a little oomph into the distressing tasks and step up the fun factor. Gamification is based on this notion and essentially takes the fun and engaging aspects of the games we’ve played and applies them to non-game contexts.
You’ve probably seen points, badges, leaderboards, and other game mechanics sometime or another in applications like FourSquare, Stack Overflow, Wikipedia, and others alike. It’s gratifying and fun to reach a sense of accomplishment and in-turn be recognized for your contributions. If designed properly, gamified systems have led to more people engagement in areas that were once deemed boring to solve.
Would you have thought the notion of folding protein structures into different patterns could be fun? Ask the creators of Foldit. Foldit is a novel computer game that allows one to contribute to scientific research by identifying the optimal folding patterns of proteins; you’re solving a real-life problem for fun. Now, Foldit may not be a game for everyone, but its logic enhances the engagement of those who were once borderline in attempting to engage in such an activity.
Where else is gamification being used to enhance engagement in the healthcare process? There’s quite a few to choose from. In a previous post, we discussed the app Pain Squad, which was designed to make the task of recording a pain diary more engaging. Patients move up the ranks based on their level of engagement.
Imagine applying the concept of gamification to the clinical development setting, as Jeri Burtchell mentioned in her “Meet Subject #0008” blogpost. Clinical trial participants would be rewarded and recognized for tasks such as checking into their scheduled appointments on time, updating and tracking their personalized journals, providing reviews on their experience, and so on, perhaps painting a more telling story in each participant’s clinical trial journey.
According to Gartner, 50% of the processes of innovation and 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified app by the year 2015. Stay tuned as we plan to add some fun and engagement into our apps and tools.