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Srinivas Gurram
Srinivas Gurram October 27, 2022

In 2020, over 90,000 new healthcare apps were released. This trend will likely continue due to the rapid adoption of smartphones and easy access to technology. Healthcare organizations must provide patients with an excellent experience to keep up with the competition.

In healthcare, gamification is one of the most effective ways of promoting healthy behaviors and providing immediate access to health anytime & anywhere. It can improve user engagement across different areas of healthcare, such as doctor-patient interactions, medication adherence, diet management, and more.

This article will discuss gamification in healthcare, its benefits, and the best examples of healthcare apps using gamification.

What is Gamification in Healthcare

Gamification in healthcare is applying game principles and mechanics in healthcare environments to encourage patients or healthcare app users to increase user engagement and improve healthy habits by making their experience fun and less boring. It could be as simple as prompting them to take medication on time, stay active, or take a lab test when needed. 

“An estimated 50% of patients with chronic diseases do not follow the prescribed treatment. Gamified health tracking creates an environment that keeps the patient from straying from the appropriate therapy path.” ~ Bertalan Meskó, MD, PhD

There are multiple gamification elements, among which healthcare providers can choose the most suitable and relevant ones for their apps. Some elements include offering points for completing tasks or performing specific actions, awarding badges for reaching milestones, and rewards for achieving specific goals.

For instance, you can create a game that rewards patients for consuming healthy foods or exercising regularly. Users will look forward to making healthy choices if they are rewarded for their small or big actions.

The Benefits of Gamifying Healthcare Apps

Boosts Engagement and Retention

Gamification in healthcare apps boosts user engagement and retention by turning tedious tasks into enjoyable experiences. It taps into users’ innate need for healthy competition, personal development, and social connection encouraging users to adopt healthy lifestyle changes. Users are encouraged to keep using the app to complete new tasks, earn badges, and, most importantly, stay healthy.

  • A progress bar is one of the most effective ways to show the status of a particular task or habit. Users can see their advancement toward their goals.
  • Rewards are the most excellent option if you want to keep your users and keep them interested for a longer time. Getting something in return usually motivates people to return to your application and complete a task.
  • Badges represent the users’ success in achieving better health, which they can then add to their profiles and share with others.
  • Leaderboards can motivate users to compete with others and create enthusiasm to see their name on top of the Leaderboard.

Educates Users

Gamifying healthcare apps to help educate users on various healthcare facts and create awareness of healthy habits and lifestyles.

  • Using tutorials and screen tips to create awareness for the user on various treatments, healthcare facts, and myths.
  • Quizzes and trivia work well in educating users as they can test their knowledge and learn from the results.

Collects Valuable Data

Gamified healthcare app encourages users to collect and provide feedback, making it an excellent data source. This is because users are likely to give valuable feedback when games are involved. Collecting and maintaining users’ health data is essential because it helps analyze their health status and behavior. You can also use the collected information to improve the user experience and increase engagement.

Additionally, by motivating users to give feedback, healthcare companies can learn more about what works and doesn’t within their apps. This information can then make future updates and functionalities more effective.

  • Opinion polls and surveys are the best tools for collecting users’ feedback. Use them to collect customers’ valuable insights. 

Top Examples of Gamification in Healthcare

Healthcare providers who use gamification strategies in their applications will have a competitive edge over others who don’t. 

By 2027, GM Insights forecasted that the global market for healthcare gamification would reach $65 Billion and grow at a CAGR of 14.6%. It is due to the growing usage and adoption of technology and global digitization.

MangoHealth

MangoHealh created a gamified app to encourage users to take their medicine on time. The app acts as a health manager and medication reminder. Patients can earn points for taking medicine on time and reporting them o the app. These points can be used to buy gift cards or for a charity donation.

MangoHealth Gamification Screen
Image Source: MangoHealth

Fitbit

Fitbit was introduced in several companies as “the corporate fitness tracker,” creating common challenges and competition for employees – which is fun and motivating. It is positioning itself as the go-to device for employers in fitness goals, with almost 1,500 corporate wellness program customers. 

Fitbit can help to motivate them to stay active and improve their health by rewarding users for completing specific tasks, such as logging their steps or reaching designated milestones. These rewards can be anything from discounts on products to extra features on the Fitbit app. It allows users to check their progress via dashboards and reports. This helps to keep users engaged and motivated.

Fitbit gamification screen
Image Source: Fitbit

Happify

Happify is a mobile app that employs gamification to improve cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). The app features more than 30 tracks users do weekly, can help people deal with stress, depression, and anxiety, and improves their general mental health.

Check Out: 8 User Engagement Strategies for Your Healthcare App

It also keeps track of user progress to evaluate how your talents stack up. Users can enhance their emotional health and deal with stress through the app. 

According to the program’s developers, more than 86% of users of the Happify app claim to have felt happy within two months of using it.

Happify gamification screen
Image Source: Happify

Nike Run Club

Nike Run Club, a fitness app, understands the roadblock to regular exercise for many people is a lack of motivation. It included gamification elements, challenges, and Leaderboard to promote motivation while making their training enjoyable.

NRC maintains a high engagement level by incorporating social challenges into running routines.

Within the app, one can select any challenge and complete the required kilometers before the scheduled date. The app tracks your development and displays your position among other NRC runners on the Leaderboard. 

Nike runner's club screen
Image Source: Nike

My Sugr

MySugr, a healthcare app, offers a fun and gamified way for children and adults with diabetes to manage their diabetes. mySugr Junior is an app designed for children aged 6-12, while mySugr for adults offers a platform to track their diabetes and make healthier lifestyle choices. 

MySugr encourages users to log their food and activity to see how their diabetes is progressing and rewards them with badges and points for following a healthy lifestyle.

A reward system in MySugr encourages users to reach appropriate glucose levels and gives points if they do so. Users can also keep track of their progress.

Mysugr gamification screen
Image Source: Mysugr

Re-mission

Re-mission is an online game designed to help children with cancer cope with the disease. In the game, players control robots that fly through the body and use superpowers based on chemotherapy and radiation to destroy cancer cells and tumors. 

The game is designed to help children feel more in control of their cancer and to help them learn about their disease. Over 100,000 cancer sufferers are said to have benefited from the company’s assistance in sticking with their treatments and developing more willpower to continue fighting the disease.

Conclusion

From the above examples and practices, gamification in healthcare successfully promotes healthy regular activities that can improve users’ health and lifestyles. By making daily tasks more fun and engaging, healthcare apps can help patients develop healthy habits that will impact their lives in the long run.

It is a win-win situation for patients and healthcare providers and often results in healthier habits and more manageable illnesses.

Implement gamification strategies in your healthcare apps to boost engagement and create a more exciting user experience. Talk to us!

The Upshot Advantage

Upshot.ai is an omnichannel, user engagement, and gamification platform that helps digital product owners and marketers improve product adoption and conversions.

With Upshot.ai, eCommerce, finance, edtech, and healthcare firms can enhance their digital experiences with pre-built gamification features. It can provide personalized insights, actionable recommendations, and contextual nudges designed to deepen its relationship with its users. 

Book a demo of the most comprehensive user engagement and gamification platform to achieve your digital product goals. Join our communities for more insights, guides, and best practices that keep you updated with proven strategies and tips to supercharge your campaigns.

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