Connecting dots for digital learning and teaching

Games for Health Care


8th annual Games for Health Conference had just been held at Boston. A recent report by analysts at Ernst and Young on trends in the global life science sector noted the rise of gamification in health and hailed its great potential in several ways. The following information is from Reuters.

For Sick Persons

Since gamification is relatively new in health care, and even newer in the pharma sector, studies on its effects are sparse. But research published in the journal Pediatrics found that children who played Re-Mission showed improved behavioral and psychological factors linked with successful cancer treatment.

HealthSeeker – from German drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim – is a game to help patients learn more about diabetes.

game for health care

For Professional Training

“Modern medical education is becoming far more learner-centered, putting learners at the core and making them actively participate. One way of doing that is simulation.”

Indeed major drugmakers, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer among them, have reported success with campaigns centered around gamification designed first to attract, and then teach, doctors and other health workers.

GSK won a marketing award for an online game called “Paper to Patient” designed to help doctors learn about important but rather tiresome policy changes on how to manage patients with an illness called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

And a Pfizer game called “Back in Play” – designed to help players spot early signs of a progressive form of arthritis called enclosing spondylitis – won an award for public education.

Another related news is Gaming gets serious in nursing school:

The University of Minnesota School of Nursing is helping to develop several simulation games in which future health care providers will apply detailed knowledge of medical procedures to care for virtual patients.

Keller described this method of education as “the way of the future.”

Clancy foresees games becoming commonplace in other fields.

Connecting with Customers

Pugh says gamification works for Boehringer on several levels – first as a way to better engage with patients who take the firm’s medicines, second as a way to awareness about particular diseases in a wider population, and thirdly as way of boosting the reputation of the pharma industry.

Syrum is a game putting the player in the shoes of a drug company executive trying to negotiate the minefield of how to discover and developing new medicines, decide which ones to pursue and fund through expensive and time-consuming clinical trials, and what to do about securing patents to secure profits.

Gaming is an engaging way of education, and it’s expanding into new areas. Actually the idea can be utilized in creative ways,  like Green Ribbon Schools added a game design contest as part of their Healthivores program.  Over 400 entered to the competition using Gamestar Mechanic game creation tools.  The winning game described a war against the “fast foodies,” where the hero (you) learns that apples and other health foods give you nutrients and “special powers” to fight in the war, like running faster and jumping higher. Check out the competition page and play the games of the winners!

On the other hand, participants from UCSF, Stanford and Berkeley came together on May 24, 2012 for a Gaming and Learning Symposium at UCSF(University of California, San Francisco). Seventy educators listened to an afternoon of presentations about using gaming in medical education.  The feedback was overwhelming positive. If you missed the UCSF Gaming and Learning Symposium, you can see the speakers and hear the panel discussion here: http://meded.ucsf.edu/tel/gaming-learning.

Note : the next Games for Health Europe conferenceNovember 5th & 6th 2012Read More

More information about this field:

Gamasutra.com : Best web site for game development news and information.
Gamesindustry.biz : Excellent site for industry news and business information.
Modern Healthcare : Award winning healthcare news site
Healthcare IT News : Great general purpose news &ampl feature stories on healthcare IT
Healthcare IT Guy : Healthcare IT Guy blog is one of the best self-produced news and information sites
MobiHealthNews : Focused on mobile healthcare news and information
The Health Care Blog : Widely read healthcare blog
Geek Doctor : John Halamka’s Blog on Healthcare IT from the inside

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“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand.” -------- Chinese Wisdom "Games are the most elevated form of investigation." -------- Albert Einstein
"I'm calling for investments in educational technology that will help create digital tutors that are as effective as personal tutors, educational software as compelling as the best video game," President Barack Obama said while touring a tech-focused Boston school (year 2011).
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