Healthcare Gamification: Avoiding Chocolate Covered Broccoli
Melody Smith Jones 2700070U9F firstname.lastname@example.org |
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Please note that this was originally posted by Melody Smith Jones on Perficient Healthcare IT Solutions Blog.
Her name is Phaedra Boinodiris, and after sitting in on her Birds of a Feather chat, along with a post chat dinner filled with good eats and new friends, I wanted to open up the conversation a bit for all to grow and learn from the gaming knowledge stored in this firecracker of a talent.
I’ll start you off with some stats Phaedra shared:
Today your average gamer is not just some young guy locked in his mother’s basement. Your average gamers include employees, analysts, mothers, and business professionals named Phaedra and Melody. As Phaedra pointed out, the first game advertising, for Atari, was aimed at the whole family. Then there was a massive shift that aimed advertising exclusively towards boys. However, once Nintendo Wii came out you started to see advertisements for the whole family again.
Healthcare at Play
Games are great at explaining complex systems. There are fewer places one can find complex systems than in the micro and macro worlds of healthcare. In healthcare we’ve seen games of multiple types. Here are some great ones:
This is all gamification, right?
Gamification is the term we use to describe serious games that go beyond strictly trying to entertain. They have a “higher purpose”, so to speak. Designers use game techniques to get players to do something not game-like at all. The possibilities in healthcare, as shown above, are truly limitless. However, this has brought us an industry that is absolutely flooded with games. However, as Phaedra points out, they are crippled by one false assumption created within the foundation of many of these games. That is:
Let’s be clear. Games can include scores, leaderboards, and badge systems. However, not everything that includes scores, leaderboards, and badge systems can be called a game (at least not an effective one). Instead, they are often just Chocolate Covered Broccoli. A user will try it out, realize this is not what they ordered, and spit it back out again.
If you want to develop a serious game that works, you must, better than anyone else, understand the purpose of your game. You must know to whom your game is targeted. You must devote a lot of time to figuring out what motivates your intended audience. That understanding must be crystal clear before you even consider how the game should be designed. Document, in detail, what your experience needs to communicate with the gamer. What kinds of puzzles best match this experience? Then consider what type of game genre matches these puzzles. Lastly, consider what platform would need to be used to help the gamer bring action to play.
Building a game that is based on what motivates your audience is what makes a serious game a game. Otherwise, all you have is Chocolate Colored Broccoli.
If you are interested in gaming, a source you can check out is Phaedra’s new book “Serious Games for Business: Using Gamification to Fully Engage Consumers, Employees and Partners”, which includes contributions by another great mind I met at IBM Connect, namely Peter Fingar.