Gamification In The Healthcare Industry
November 23, 2022
The healthcare industry plays a significant role at a global level. When a patient experiences illness, they turn to a doctor to get a diagnosis and treatment. The healthcare industry alone accounts for around 18% of the country’s GDP in the United States.
There are over 6,000 registered hospitals in the United States. The healthcare industry employs More than 10% of the population. Other countries see similar statistics, but many challenges and obstacles still affect patient outcomes and the industry as a whole.
Recent increases in the global healthcare gamification market suggest that using gamified apps and similar technological advancements may reduce these challenges. We focus on the challenges that the healthcare industry faces and how gamification can help deliver better health outcomes among healthcare providers and patients.
Current Challenges In The Healthcare Industry
Even though most countries ensure healthcare services are readily available to local citizens, there are still many obstacles that this industry faces at the moment. Poor technological implementation, monitoring patient data, and inefficient medication adherence can cause complications with chronic diseases.
A thorough understanding of the current challenges that the industry faces also gives us a better view of how gamification might be helpful. This article will address some of the biggest obstacles that healthcare providers currently face.
Increase In Disease Prevalence
One of the biggest problems the healthcare industry faces now is the significant increase in chronic diseases and other healthcare problems.
Every five years, the prevalence of certain chronic diseases in the United States increases by as many as eight million new patients. Over the last two decades, there has also been a consistent increase in the prevalence of these diseases. Today, about 85% of all healthcare costs are related to patients with chronic diseases.
When there is a rise in chronic diseases among a population, it puts a strain on the healthcare system of the country. This makes it harder for healthcare providers to offer patients efficient treatment and may lead to more costs to treat these conditions on the patient’s side.
Higher disease prevalence also leads to less availability of good healthcare outcomes, as there may be a lack of medical services to cover the needs of all these individuals. Even though disease prevention methods have been researched, a significant focus has been on financial incentives instead of ensuring healthcare professionals improve medication adherence among their patients.
Problems With Engagement In Treatment Plans
The consistent increase in chronic disease prevalence is not the only issue the healthcare industry faces today. There are also significant concerns regarding poor medication adherence among patients treated for chronic and acute conditions.
When a patient receives treatment for a condition but fails to use the medication, attend physical therapy, and attend appointments with healthcare providers, it ultimately reduces adherence. This can also lead to a lower efficacy of the healthcare provider’s treatment plan for the patient.
Besides medication, doctors may also ask patients to exercise more regularly, give up smoking, or perhaps follow a specific diet. Once again, failure to implement these strategies reduces treatment efficacy and can ultimately aggravate the complications associated with a chronic illness.
The same occurs in cases of acute illness. If the patient has a bacterial infection and fails to complete their course of antibiotics, the infection may come back and be more severe the second time.
The Use Of Technology In The Healthcare Industry
Technology has become an integral part of healthcare systems in the modern day. Healthcare providers use technology to have digital records of patient data. This allows the professional to draw up relevant data when needed easily. Large healthcare companies, smaller offices, and clinics now utilize these technologies to help with data management. With this setup, it is also possible to provide patients with remote care solutions, which can help expand coverage.
Technology can also assist in cases where clinical guidelines need to be established, and doctors need an efficient way to provide patients with health goals in a printed or digital format.
Digital health now also includes fitness and nutrition apps that provide the patient with details about their daily activities and nutritional intake. Some apps can help patients identify the proper OTC medications to use, which is beneficial for self-management medication in cases where the patient only has a mild condition.
Apart from the patient’s side, healthcare companies focusing on more extensive hospital networks now also use technology to assist with medical procedures. There are also other uses for technology, including the use of these systems as a way to boost consumer engagement among patients. The latest trends revolve around implementing gaming principles in a health app to motivate patients.
How Gamification Could Change The Healthcare Industry
Gamification is a term that is starting to be seen more and more in the modern day, especially as technology continues to be involved. A large variety of industries uses the method. Gamification in healthcare can help providers and medical facilities overcome many of the current obstacles they face. It makes patient care easier and can even be used to deliver education programs to the patient in a fun and engaging way.
We will look at how gamification could deliver better results in digital health and the healthcare industry in general.
Patient Engagement With Gamification
One of the most important areas where gamification can help the health industry is patient engagement. Currently, even when there are effective treatment options for certain conditions, poor patient engagement results in inefficient treatment results. If the patient does not take the medication as prescribed, it could lead to the illness not improving or even getting worse over time.
With gamification, patients can receive notifications and reminders about an upcoming dose. This can help to keep users motivated to take their medication as prescribed.
Healthcare providers can also use gamification elements to motivate patients to perform a particular task, such as going for a walk after getting home from work. Among obese individuals and those with long-term diseases living a sedentary lifestyle, even short and mild exercise sessions can do wonders in the long run.
The gamification system helps promote healthy behaviors among these patients by providing them with points when they achieve their goals. To measure the success of these plans, devices like step counters can help. This allows the patient to track their blood pressure levels, blood oxygen, steps taken, distance walked or run, and several other important factors – with the data then transferred to the doctor’s computer for inspection.
When patients understand that their data transmits to the doctor, they may strive less to challenge personal goals and instead feel motivated to adapt to these healthy behaviors.
Improved Treatment Outcomes Through Gamification Healthcare
Data collection through a digital practitioner system and gamified apps gives doctors more information to work with. In turn, this can be a good option for rapid growth in the efficacy of the treatments they prescribe to their patients.
When doctors allow patients to use fitness, nutrition, and such apps that help monitor data, they already gain access to various important data metrics. The gamification system then asks the patient to provide details about the medication they take and food they consume, which further contributes to the data that the doctor can use to measure adherence and compare this to the rate at which the patient’s symptoms improve.
These healthcare apps use gamification elements like virtual points that patients can obtain by completing specific tasks. While there may be some initial costs with gamification in healthcare, the improved treatment outcomes can lead to better customer retention and ensure treatment outcomes are more positive.
Better Adherence To Schedules
A healthcare app that uses gamification to provide badges and points, which can then reward the patient in the process, can also help to ensure the patient adheres to their treatment and appointment schedules.
In one study, researchers described that missed appointments pose a risk in the medical industry for multiple reasons. When patients miss their appointments, it causes a loss of time and money for the healthcare provider that treats the patient. At the same time, it makes it hard to engage patients and ensure they strive toward their health goals. These bad health habits also increase the risk of all-cause mortality. The reason is the failure to obtain follow-up tests and procedures to ensure the initial treatments were effective.
Better Staff Performance Through Gamification
While gamification can help improve patient engagement, it is also useful internally. A gamified healthcare app can provide staff members with goals that reward them. This ensures the perceived value of each staff member’s role is enhanced. Points and other virtual gifts would also ensure better workplace attendance, reducing the risk of the facility being shorthanded.
There are several ways in which gamified healthcare apps can be used in the medical industry. Companies can use physical and emotional health apps to ensure they care for the entire being of every staff member. A company wellness program could also reward staff members for being active, which can help to maintain proper performance among the whole team.
What Are The Steps To Implement Gamification For Better Clinical Outcomes
Healthcare gamification is shown to have a positive effect on patient engagement and staff performance. It is, however, important that companies understand how health gamification works. The right type of technology for gamification in healthcare can help to drive superior results compared to an inefficient plan.
The first healthcare gamification phase involves setting a complete plan and timeline. The healthcare facility needs to understand precisely what gamification in healthcare means to them and how they would like to use it.
Working with an appropriate company is also essential when looking at gamification in healthcare strategies. These apps should record relevant patient data and offer instant feedback on performance, adherence, and treatment efficacy to both the patient and the doctor. This would improve patient engagement.
When the patient adopts healthy habits with these gamified apps, it can also help promote long-term improvements for them. For example, if the patient has a condition aggravated by their diet and sedentary lifestyle, promoting healthy behaviors through rewards can help them lose weight and adopt a healthier eating plan. This can become a long-term lifestyle for them, which can also help to reduce the risk of severe life-threatening conditions over time.
The gamification system should provide a fair process and offer the right rewards to patients and other users when they meet specific goals that are laid out for them. These apps can also include a digital practitioner system, which provides the patient access to questions and answers, or even consultations, with a doctor through a virtual consultation.
The Bottom Line
There are several methods in which gamification can help to improve clinical outcomes and enhance patient engagement among healthcare providers. Healthcare providers and other medical facilities often face confusion about implementing these systems. Spinify is the best solution to introduce the use of gamification in healthcare. Book a demo today if you want to incorporate gamification into your medical practice. Our platform can help you reach your target audience and improve best work practices simultaneously. To get the latest updates on gamified health apps, follow us on LinkedIn.
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