Gamification is defined as “the process of turning an activity or task into a game or something resembling a game.” This concept has been leveraged in the fields of education and marketing to create engagement with a topic or product by using game playing techniques such as point scoring, achievement badges, or virtual currency.
How will this concept integrate into clinical trials?
A recent study examined how a gaming paradigm called HealthPrize had patients earn points for filling a prescription and tracked the patient activity on the company’s mobile and online platforms. This application is being applied in clinical trials and a difference was noted in the adherence level of these patients. The application claims to engage patients in playing and learning activities on a regular basis to therefore increase adherence.
It is important to note that the possibilities with using gamification may be generational, and the target audiences may initially be younger. A technology called Pain Squad is used to encourage pediatric cancer patients to fill out pain reports daily. The website states that “By tapping into kids’ love of gaming and technology, we were able to give them some control over their pain and give doctors the tools they need to understand the experience of pain from a child’s perspective.” The success of this application has allowed its increased availability to hospitals. The Paper Kingdom is another project that examines how to explain clinical trials to children through a gaming perspective. The National Institutes of Health and New England Research Institutes developed this technology platform to educate children and increase their comfort level when participating in clinical research.
The increasing popularity of technology in clinical research, including mobile and online devices, may integrate well with the idea of gamification. Do you think that gamification could create greater engagement for subjects in medical device and/or pharmaceutical clinical trials? Post your comments below!
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