Gamification of Health Apps: Where Staying Fit is (Really) Fun

In this article, we discuss why a food journal is vital for sufferers and how or to-be-launched Allergy Finder App is a great tool that is made even more intuitive and fun to use with its strong gamification aspect.  

What is Gamification

A very simple definition of gamification would say that it is the application of game design and style in non-gaming contexts. This approach is used to solve problems by engaging the players or participants in otherwise everyday tasks and making these activities more fun and interesting.

Nowadays, gamification is being used in many industries, including healthcare, transforming mundane user experiences into the excitement of playing a game. Mostly, it is used in fitness applications, medical adherence and medical education.

Here we explore the gamification of health applications, which has, undeniably, made staying fit fun.

Gamification in Health Applications

Gamification not only increases our focus but also enables us to attain goals which otherwise would have been too difficult for us to reach. This aspect of gamification has successfully been exploited by the health industry. As early as 2016, Fitbit announced that it was teaming up with other corporations to track employees and use the data to track their health habits. Thus, in the beginning, Fitbit was used by various companies as a fitness tracker for their employees, motivating them to take better care of their well-being in the corporate rat-race. Slowly, gamification was incorporated in many other fitness apps, at which we shall take a brief look.

Examples of Gamification in Health Applications

Pact: Perhaps this is the most fun of all fitness applications out there. Pact tracks fitness on mobile phone devices and those users who do not meet their fitness goals have to contribute money—which goes to those users who have met their goals! It is only natural that nobody likes to pay anyone on their expense.

Mango Health: On a completely different level, Mango Health is an application which motivates patients to take their medications on time. The users set a time on which they need to take medications and the app reminds them like an alarm. Having taken their medications properly, they earn points and get gift cards and more. The application also educates patients about drugs and their side effects.

EveryMove: EveryMove uses competitiveness to motivate users to stay fit. It collects data from mobile devices and allows friends to compare one another’s progress.

mySugr: mySugr is an Australian startup which provides a fun solution for diabetes management. It has a separate app for helping children with diabetes management which is called mySugr Junior App. mySugr has been very successful with all age groups and it has more than one million registered users and is available in 52 countries in at least 13 languages. Most recently, it was acquired by the pharmaceutical giant Roche.

How Gamification can Help people Fight Food Allergies

Gamification has been steadily on rise in various industries including education, marketing and social living. It has been of a particular success in the health industry. Where it is hard for people to keep up their spirits while trying to be fit, gamification not only helps them achieve this goal but also brings much fun in the process. 

32 million Americans have food allergies. That means one in every 10 adults and one in every 13 children. Researchers have found an increasing prevalence in food allergies in the industrialized world for the past 50 years. The burden of this problem is the fact that there has been a steady rise in the number of ER visits for food allergy-related emergencies. 

While there is no cure for food allergies, the best way to stay away from it is through prevention and avoiding food that you are allergic to. But how do you identify which food you are allergic to? 

Food journaling or a food diary is a great way to identify the ‘culprit’. Maintaining a food journal can be an extremely helpful way to avoid “rogue” foods and to keep track of adverse reactions when they happened so as to avoid them the next time. 

In the food journal, keep making entries every time you eat or drink something. Record if you show any allergic symptoms like itching, coughing, swelling, redness, diarrhea, stomach ache, wheezing, etc. Record the time when the symptoms start. This information is vital for you and your doctor to strategize your dietary schedule and avoid certain foods.

Maintaining a physical journal can be cumbersome for most sufferers. A manual food diary also does not make analysis easy. Everything, from recording meals to analyzing potential allergens and problem foods has to be done manually. This can become quite a task. Maybe things would become a whole lot easier if there was an easy to use app for it? Would not a digital food journal help?

In the last newsletter, we had mentioned about the development of the Allergy Finder App. This app is more than a food journal though. It is a community empowerment tool, where collective data will help sufferers take control of their health. We are in the process of giving the final touches to the app and we expect to launch it soon.

The app is free to download and comes with a 7-day free trial. After that users will need to subscribe to continue using its services at a flat rate of $34.99 per year. 

A lot of thought has gone into the making of this app with subject matter experts, tech experts and food allergy sufferers chipping in with their insights. We believe that this app will be a great tool for the millions of food allergy sufferers to take control of their condition and live a healthy life with informed dietary choices.   

How we can create a frictionless society with the help of blockchain technology

 

Blockchain, in simple terms, is a peer-to-peer digital ledger of records, which is distributed and accessible to all nodes that are part of the ecosystem. The nodes may be in any part of the world, and the data shared on the ledger can range from contracts to payments to votes to accounts to transfer of ownership. Sharing and storing of data is completely secure and private. Since the data runs and gets recorded on multiple devices simultaneously, there is no chance of tampering, making the system transparent and immutable at the same time.

As more and more aspects of our lives have been taken over by the internet, like shopping, banking, travel bookings and plethora of other services, there is need for more secure platforms since there is a lot of information exchange happening online, and the internet has failed its users several times (data leaks, hacked and modified data, etc.). Blockchain technology, with its smart codes and contracts, is the perfect keeper of that information. The exchange of data is automated and hack-proof. What you put up on blockchain cannot be changed by anyone, and again, you cannot put up just anything on the blockchain since a transaction has to fulfill certain parameters and be verified before it gets a place on the blockchain.

What makes Blockchain so efficient that it can help create a frictionless society?

For one, it offers absolute data security, complete ownership of the data and enormous savings in cost and time in conducting financial transactions along with complete transparency for all parties involved. There is no chance of fraud, no doubt about authenticity and no need of intermediaries, and the cost thereof.  Smart contracts on blockchain are based on algorithms that run without human intervention, and are also error-free.

It is simple, without the need of elaborate documents like conventional institutions doing the same job, and thus, within everyone’s reach. With decentralization of data, there is no chance of bias or loss/theft/manipulation of data. This gives participants complete control of data/assets and makes the ecosystem trustworthy or more precisely, “trustless”.

Governments all over the world are entrusted with protecting their people, executing measures and plans to boost prosperity of their people and to provide a variety of services (legal and financial, for example) to their people. As the world moves ahead, business is happening between not just regions in a country but between countries too, and every country having a different set of rules and laws of doing business, more often than not, acts as a hindrance to global development.

Blockchain can help in conducting seamless transactions between individuals and businesses belonging to different countries, making the society practically frictionless.

Another divide that can be addressed with the help of blockchain is that between rapidly developing urban centers and underserved rural regions. Rural populations have little or no access to legal or financial services and as a result, are left to struggle for survival with meager means. Blockchain can help in better distribution of resources and can help the government take proactive measures to provide and deploy resources where they are needed the most.

Emergency services like disaster management can become more efficient with the help of blockchain technology. While bureaucracy has its constraints when it comes to aiding those who have been hit by natural disasters, blockchain can help overcome those constraints and gather help from all quarters with efficient monitoring of aid. Also, when people donate for those in need, they can be assured that their donations would reach the right people instead of landing up in the pockets of corrupt officials.

Cryptocurrencies can be the solution to all problems that are associated with standard fiat currency, and its now well-known salient features are making them more acceptable among people, without any interference from any government. Crypto transactions can happen based on smart contracts without any additional legal regulation. Corporates can also pay their employees, suppliers or shareholders in any part of the world without any hassle. The bank, as the trusted but not a very helpful third party, will soon become redundant and cryptocurrencies will replace more than 25% of world currencies.

Managing and storing identity records will become simpler and safer on blockchain. Once on the blockchain, they cannot be modified or stolen, and a single digital identity could be your global passport to access any service you need. Cyber security will become a reality, with authentic cyber identities.

Just as the internet brought information to our fingertips with platforms for sharing music, news, photos etc., blockchain will bring clarity and authenticity to all the information, be it about people, about money or about governments. People of the world, divided by political borders, can come together and progress together as a unified force with the help of blockchain technology, since it comprises of a global currency and honest dealings between autonomous networks of individuals.

Some broad applications of Blockchain

Blockchain is so versatile and adaptive, almost anything that can be expressed in code can be recorded on blockchain, and some examples are,

  • Birth and death records
  • Digital assets
  • Contracts
  • Educational records
  • Medical records
  • Insurance claims
  • Financial transactions

 

The bottomline

If there ever was a time for the common masses all over the world to be a part of something truly unifying and empowering, it is now. Blockchain, with its numerous benefits, is capable of paving the way for a decentralized governance system that is uniform and fair for everyone, where there is no need to pay exorbitant fees for simple services, and where getting connected to the right people for your business is not a distant dream, where voting will be simple, private yet transparent, and can be verified accurately and swiftly.

The best part of it all is that you need not be a blockchain expert or a technology geek to be a part of the blockchain ecosystem. Expanse.tech has a platform ready for you for sharing and storage of data or conducting financial transactions. It is the world’s first stable fork of Ethereum and can be used to create any kind of project. If you have a vision, just hop onto Expanse and explore the endless possibilities of this revolutionary new technology.