The Effect of Gaming on Prevention and Wellness

Games have already proven to be big business for many companies. If it is fun, it is a great way to waste time - and what better way to waste time than by being healthy?

This article was originally published by iMedicalApps.

One interesting panel discussion I attended at the mHealth Summit was on “The Evolution of Gaming and its Effect on Prevention and Wellness” moderated by Mitul Shah of the West Wireless Health Institute.

Panelists included Ravi Komatireddy (West Wireless), Iana Simeonov (University of California, San Francisco), Debra Lieberman (University of California, Santa Barbara) and Douglas Goldstein (iConnecto).

Douglas Goldstein led off the panel and is one of the most energetic speakers I have ever seen, instantly engaging the audience in an impromptu Q&A session complete with prizes for correct answers.

Goldstein pointed out that games have already proven to be big business for many companies. Seventy percent of app downloads are games, and Facebook is valued close to $100 billion because of its casual gaming platform. This is a powerful fact and something all developers need to take into account when designing for consumers.

If it is fun, it is a great way to waste time — and what better way to waste time than by being healthy? He really emphasized the power of using off-the-shelf technology to create games that engage patients and help them manage their conditions in an enjoyable way.

Debra Lieberman of UC Santa Barbara Health Games Research was up next and made the very good point that before games can be used for health interventions we need to know if/how they work.

There are many games out there for health and most of them aren’t any good. Well-designed games are powerful experiences, its not just watered down reality but, instead, rule-based activities with goals and incentives to achieve those goals. There are opportunities to tap into users intrinsic motivations that take games beyond the digital universe and help users address real problems in their lives.

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