GameSpeak & ClinicSpeak: Can we gamify MS life skills?

Can healthcare be delivered via a game? #MSBlog #GameSpeak #ClinicSpeak #BrainHealth

“Engagement and adoption is the biggest problems facing healthcare innovators, or wannabe healthcare innovators like me. We can come up with an idea very 5 minutes, but unless we can implement them, get them adopted, show that they have an impact on outcomes and are cost effective we are wasting our time and your time. On the other side of the coin getting the target population to change their behaviour is remarkably difficult. The paper below describes turning the process into a game with the hope that this will change behaviour. The downside of this is that not everyone necessarily likes games. What do you think? Could we design a game to nudge MSers to improve their lifestyles with the hope that it will improve outcomes? If you have any ideas or examples, in particular around Brain Health, I would be very interested to know about them. Please remember the game may also involve healthcare professionals.”

Giunti G. Gamified Design for Health Workshop. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2016;225:605-6.

Increasing lifespans for chronic disease sufferers means a population of young patients who require lifestyle intervention from an early age. For multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, social problems begin with the decline of cognitive skills and their quality of life is affected. In this workshop, organizers will propose participants to work on different gamification design approaches to solve MS patients’ engagement problem. Participants will obtain skills that can be extrapolated to other conditions that require patients change to adopt a different behavior. At the end, participants will present their proposed gamification design and discuss and comment each solution, assessing potential unintended outcomes and advantages.

8 thoughts on “GameSpeak & ClinicSpeak: Can we gamify MS life skills?”

    1. It's not necessarily about having fun. I think it helps to understand that "gamification" isn't about getting healthier by playing Doom or Bejeweled. From Google: "Gamification is the concept of applying game mechanics and game design techniques to engage and motivate people to achieve their goals." You likely encounter gamification all the time already.When you fill out an online profile (think LinkedIn), and a progress bar shows you how far you are from complete, that's gamification.When you use a "buy 10, get 1 free card" at a coffee shop (just two more to go!), that gamification.When you earn a badge for checking in 5 days in a row on your diet app, that's gamification.When you slow down because the sign on the side of the road shows you exactly how fast you're going, that's gamification. No MS ain't fun. But there's good evidence that gamification works better than a stern lecture or a pamphlet showing happy people in wheelchairs having a picnic!

    2. I tried to write a reply, but it was posted and then deleted. They may not have liked the links. To summarize, game playing could influence recovery by helping people maintain social connections, help others, and at the same time escape into alternate realities. This "may have potential to influence positive health outcomes."

  1. Oh man! Gamification was a big part of my dealing with MS when I was first diagnosed. I was absolutely traumatized. One of my first acts of trying to get out of bed and get my mind off my dx was to take a Coursera. Since I'm in marketing, I chose a gamification course, and somehow finished it.That led me to using Super Better for things like getting out of the house (one challenge I set up for myself was to pet a dog everyday–note, I don't have a dog) and eating healthier (one challenge was to get as many colors as possible In a meal without resorting to candy). A close friend, who is a professor in North Carolina, became one of my support buddies. As a result, She began looking at gaming and cancer recovery–and now that's a big part of her research.I'm feeling better now, and don't need an app to eat healthy or go outside. But I am pretty hooked on my Fitbit and the little buzz it gives me when I meet my step goal or the filled status bar on my dashboard I get when I complete 7 hours of sleep …Bottom line: There's absolutely a place for gamification in MS–for patients, doctors, AND researchers!

  2. If delaying early disability is not enough incentive for patients to lead a healthy lifestyle, no game is going to help.

    1. lol i hate statements like that. if nothing else, it's unfair to people leaving a "healthy and active" lifestyle who are riddled with disease. they exist, it's not a myth. can we also forgive those who are struggling as it is and find comfort in "unhealthy" activities? pointing the finger at them and saying well you ain't helping yourself why bother is really compassionate and touching, particularly in the context of people who are struggling to keep up with life as it is. ps. i don't have ms.

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