I was recently an attendee and speaker at the Enterprise Gamification Forum, hosted by the Advanced Learning Institute on September 24 to the 25 in the AMA Executive Conference Center. “Gamification in Healthcare: A Natural Fit” was an interactive panel session moderated by Ellen LaPoint of HopeLab. Ellen, along with Douglas Elwood, Warren Zenna, and Dr. Steven Merahn addressed global changing factors such as aging population, growing incidence of chronic diseases and skyrocketing costs that are undermining the healthcare system.
Ellen is the VP strategic partnerships of HopeLab. The other panel members included Douglas Elwood, Digital and Innovation Strategy lead for Bristol-Myers Squibb; Warren Zenna, president of Zenna Consulting; and Dr. Steven Merahn, Senior Vice President of Clinical Program Services at ActiveHealth Management.
Zenna spoke about dealing with compliance issues:
There was an app that you downloaded on your phone, Moodology, that asked you three times a day what your mood was and what the circumstances were. This was an unbranded app that provided valuable data from a large population. It’s anonymous and not clinical, but provides guidance. If you’re dealing with compliance issues about the elderly not taking their medication and dealing with day-to-day experiences about how people feel, there’s lots of ways you can engage with them using a similar tool.
LaPoint spoke to HopeLab’s efforts in helping young people play a game, a journey through the body, to change their relationship to chemotherapy:
It shifted their perception that chemotherapy was something happening to them to the idea of chemotherapy being a weapon in their hands to defeat cancer. Giving a contingency experience that really allows people to see things differently that they might not otherwise want to do is a wonderful way to develop a gameplay experience.
Dr. Merahn spoke about the delusion of wellness about being a empowered person. He explained the patient’s mindset:
What is the meaning of the behavior you want me to do to me? What is the context for this thing you’re asking me to create some mind space for. Because I prefer not to give this disease any more mind space as it already takes up.
Games are a Trojan horse for mind space, in which the patient finds the meaning themselves. Education and facts don’t do it, but gaming can get around that clinical conversation to get people to come around to the behaviors best for them.
Zenna spoke about how gamification takes place between two people, not necessarily on technology. Elwood addressed how they did just this, using mobile devices to allow physicians to interact with the patients to move from a digital prescription (a toolbox for physicians to initiate with the patient, using a myriad of activities, including peer support, social networks, etc.) and the patient can then walk away with and on his or her own time access, manipulate, and engage as they see fit. There was initially a lot of pushback of patients not liking mobile devices in the office and doctors not using it; but that has turned out not to be the case. Amputees particularly have a challenge with dealing with their social environment and gamification helped them take small steps towards reintegrating with society with their new form.
Dr. Merahn spoke about laproscopic surgical procedures with competition amongst surgeons; there’s actually an issue that a lot of residents aren’t getting a lot of cognitive thinking skills that a shift worker lacks from a long-term person who follows the patient over time. Gamification can help build those skills.
Read the rest of session’s coverage by clicking through the pictures.
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Douglas Elwood, Digital and Innovation Strategy lead for Bristol-Myers Squibb
Question from the audience: Who is your customer and how does that inform your design choices?
Zenna: Almost all my pharmaceutical clients want to reach the doctors, and digital devices is how they engage with them. The quanty MD platform, which has lots of gamification on it, which works well: over 20,000 doctors engage with a challenge by ranking because doctors are very competitive. There’s a subtext area where they can weigh in and give their justification for why they gave their answer. It’s a great delivery mechanism through the usage of a branded experience.
Dr. Steven Merahn, Senior Vice President of Clinical Program Services at ActiveHealth Management
Question from the audience: What will things look like in five years?
Elwood: Prescribable apps that go to patients in a defined and personalized manner that patients can engage and activate on their own.
Zenna: Mobile doctor visits. MyDoctor mobile. Where thre’s that level of engagement and connectivity getting right to that patient.
Merahn: To make the prescription of anything, whether it be the game, the app, the advanced decision support, the engagement strategy really tied to that person’s data profile. I don’t mean their health profile, I mean their overall.
Warren Zenna, president of Zenna Consulting
Question from the audience: Is anyone using Wii as a tool for health?
Xamzy, the game we developed for middle school kids was to get them to get moving. HopeLab is in favor of the more the better. Any tools that are evidenced-based with research behind them that demonstrate the kind of activity you’re trying to ignite is good.
Each of the panelists were then asked to sum up their thoughts in just six words:
- Elwood: To innovate you must challenge
- Dr. Merahn: Look outside of healthcare for healthcare solutions
- Elwood: Stick with gaming
- LaPointe: Know your customer