On Healthcare Gamification
When I first came upon gamification, it was nearly a decade ago. It was really new and hip in the industry. We were thinking about gamification for sales forces and productivity targeted at our corporate clients, back then.
At its core, gamification makes a lot of sense. It's about understanding people's thinking process and using motivators to enhance desired behaviours. Healthcare has taken on the trend and it's becoming more and more common, mostly in apps. To some degree, however, I would say that behavioural health economics also tap into similar concepts or ideas.
Like many things that have become mainstream, gamification has lost some of its meaning. Very often, it's presented as badges that people get to collect, when in fact it's more about understanding people intrinsically. There are a lot of subtleties embed in gamification. Things we don't think about, like the ratio of randomness versus predictiveness.
When we reduce gamification to notifications and badges, we under-estimate over-saturation. It always makes me smile that in an industry known for alarm fatigue for its doctors, healthcare app developers do not realize their badges and notifications will very similarly drown in a sea of alarms on the patients devices.
Designing for extrinsic motivation is always a dangerous game. Intrinsic motivation, however, is harder to get lost in the noise. It is one thing that I've been looking for when looking at the healthcare sector recently: I'm still looking for that ingenious mind that will manage to apply gamification principles with patients' intrinsic motivations.