Gamification in Health Apps - How Does it Help? - Expanse

Gamification in Health Apps – How Does it Help?


Jitendra Rathod, contributing newsletter editor, discusses the popularity of gamification to make health apps more fun to use and to increase user compliance. 

Do you count your daily steps in your smartwatch or fitness app? Do you drink water to grow a virtual plant? If you are doing something like this, then you’re already introduced to the gamification concept in health apps. 

Gamification is nothing but the use of games and simulations to help you make a few behavioral changes so that you become more conscious of a healthy lifestyle. The use of gamification in health apps has been on a surge because of its many benefits. 

How it helps

“An estimated 50% of patients with chronic diseases do not follow the prescribed treatment,” as told to Forbes by Dr. Bertalan Meskó, medical futurist and author of The Guide to the Future of Medicine: Technology and the Human Touch. 

Gamification has thus found its way in health apps offering a positive impression. 

Introducing health apps that are fun and engaging empowers a patient to take care of his/her health, often unknowingly. 

Patients become more cooperative with their primary caregivers because they become equal partners in their healthcare. In other words, patients have better self-knowledge and they are willing to help themselves making the job of the healthcare professional easy.

On the other hand, healthcare professionals should embrace the new normal and work along with the patients towards a healthy world. 

Here are a few examples of gamification in health apps

  1. Fitbit: If you have always dreaded the gym visit, then this gamified health app is for you. It counts every move you make, helps you set your fitness goals, and then sends you nudges to keep you motivated! 
  1. EveryMove: Similar to Fitbit, it not only counts your steps but gives you a competitive push by sharing your step counts with your friends. Even when you are socially distancing from one another, you can still keep your fitness motivation high with such a gamified app.
  1. Monster Guard: Developed by the Red Cross, this is a fun gamified app specially designed for children. The app aims to teach children what to do when there is an emergency like a fire in the building or an earthquake. Children are also rewarded with virtual medals when they complete a task allotted by the app.
  1. Lap band: Another popular child-focused gamified health app that is aimed towards raising healthy kids. The app keeps track of a child’s sleep hour, movement hours, and step counts.
  1. Wellthy Therapeutics: Diabetes is one of the major lifestyle diseases. This gamified app helps type 2 diabetic patient to manage her condition better by suggesting a health plan and keeping a track of how the patient is fairing. It engages the patients effectively for a healthy outcome. It offers fun challenges, keeps a track of lifestyle changes, offers expert coaching, etc.

Gamification in health apps is bringing in new dimensions to the healthcare system. However, the complete success of it will depend on how the patients and the healthcare community embrace it. 

The Allergy Finder app developed by Expanse seeks to help individuals suffering from food allergies through a gamified app that will help them track the foods they consume and alert them to potential food allergens in their meals. The common knowledge base will further help the community in making informed diet decisions. 

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