Gaming in Healthcare Marketing – New Opportunities

 

 

 

 

Stumbled upon this and thought it was cool. The UK Science Museum is featuring an exhibit exploring the future of pain management that includes a game in which players “blast away” pain using a variety of remedies. The game is simple and fun – it resembles Atari’s classic Missile Command – and it takes health education to a new level of engagement that we’re just scratching the surface of.

We know audiences want to be entertained by brands, and engaging content matters more than brand messages. Gaming is a new frontier to explore in healthcare marketing.

When we create campaigns to help consumers understand health information or change health behaviors, more often than not, we’re combining engaging content with educational resources, clear messages on how to progress in treatment and wellness, and incentives for behavior change. We can do this – and more – with gaming.

Gaming involves repetition (learning behaviors), incentives/points to perfect learned behaviors, and creates an environment of complete immersion and engagement (try getting my son’s attention while he’s playing Fruit Ninja!)

We can leverage the experience of gaming to reach captive audiences with health messages:

  1. A children’s game that teaches healthy habits – points for brushing teeth or putting vegetables on a plate…or, as my son did the other night, running 100 laps in the living room!
  2. A game on a hospital website that helps patients understand an upcoming medical procedure as players advance through levels: 1) at-home prep, 2) hospital arrival, 3) surgery, 4) immediate recovery, 5) long-term recovery.
  3. Taking it a step further, using patient data for personalized gaming – points are earned when the patient refills a prescription, tracks exercise or goes to the doctor.

And as gaming becomes increasingly social (who isn’t aware of Facebook friends’ latest Farmville or Words with Friends win?), there’s opportunity to extend these health messages in social networks … and suddenly, a player becomes a brand ambassador.

For more info, read my colleague Digitas Health EU Managing Director June Dawson’s article exploring how gamification can impact healthcare, featured in February 2013 in PMLiVE.

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