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The Gamification Impact on Healthcare
Improving Health Behaviors and Enhancing Healthcare Systems

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There is powerful potential today with gamification. Smart phone use and widespread access to mobile as well as web applications are empowering today’s users in drastic new ways. So what is gamification? More specifically, how can gamification engage users to achieve better health outcomes or overall health behaviors? Furthermore, how can gamification enhance a healthcare system?

Gamification is enabling as well as empowering users to engage, track, and review individual health behavior like never before. Users can follow health choices while setting feasible health goals to attain health improvement outcomes. Active user participation is directly influenced by gamification and supports today’s healthcare system incentives. Presently, healthcare systems are more and more focused on pay-for-performance incentives tied to the user experience. Users enabled and actively participating in their health care by means of gamification are receiving a better experience with transparent health communication, health tracking, health knowledge, and health behavior understanding.

So, what is gamification? Gamification is the use of game attributes to drive game-like player behavior in a non-game context1. It is currently being used in healthcare as well as a within a vast array of different environments, industries, and applications. Gamification is making a significant impact on healthcare as well as other organizational aspects, such as improving workplace productivity, enhancing training, and refining workflow.

Gamification is rapidly changing the way we share, engage, and behave. New technology capabilities alongside a growing tech savvy environment are producing shifts in organizational and communication strategies. One dynamic strategy of significance today is that of gamification. So how can gamification engage users to achieve better health outcomes or overall health behaviors? One such example is in the palm of your hand, or could be… mobile apps.

Health care gamification apps are designed to help improve diet habits, fitness activities, as well as mental, financial, and relationship health. Gamification and mobile apps take social games as well as social media and combine it with the science of behavior change and nutrition. This allows users to improve their daily health habits in a way that is both fun and more importantly sustainable. Health care gamification apps believe that if users enjoy the process of living healthier through game-like player behavior, users are much more likely to sustain healthy habits.

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Popular gamification health care apps allow users to track their progress as well the progress of friends, family, or others. You are connected in a motivational and encouraging manner using competitive game-like features, allowing users to become active participants in their health choices and lifestyle, as well as those of others. Additionally, the power of gamification and social media is the ability to discuss, discover, and address current health care social epidemics. Current key epidemics include obesity and heart disease in the United States. Multiple existing gamification apps provide support for those seeking to address such epidemics with powerful life changing results in a game-like context.

We now understand how gamification can improve individual as well as group health habits and lifestyles, but how does gamification enhance a healthcare system?

Increasingly healthcare systems are operating under new financial incentives focused on patient centered and accountable care. Such incentives are requiring healthcare systems to focus more on user engagement, where the healthcare system is aiming to improve or influence health activities. Growing healthcare system motivators include provider quality measure improvements, reduced readmissions, decreased out-of-network visits, and improved Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) measures. The critical focus of these incentives is active participation by the user with the healthcare system themselves. Smart phone technology and direct user engagement with healthcare system mobile applications are allowing healthcare systems to motivate users, provide clear communication, inform household health decision makers, and achieve desired healthcare system goals.

Romanyk Consulting Corp. (RCC) is pleased to provide any additional information about gamification and mobile or web application technology. This rapidly growing application technology is creating real and significant changes within healthcare. Please feel free to contact us by phone at 1.888.934.1119 ext. 300 or visit us online at www.romanykconsulting.com, to learn more about the beneficial solutions we can provide you and your organization.


1 Michael Wu, Ph. D. – What is Gamification, Really?, 2011

Providing for our Veterans
United States Department of Veterans Affairs Opening New Community-Based Outpatient Clinics

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The United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) mission statement is to fulfill President Lincoln’s promise “To care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan” by serving and honoring the men and women who are America’s Veterans. The VA is continuing its efforts by expanding Veteran health care services and opening thirteen new Community-Based Outpatient Clinics (CBOCs). The first CBOC is scheduled to become operational as soon as late 2012 with additional sites of care opening their doors to Veterans by 2015.

The VA has focused their efforts on providing increased access to where Veterans live. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki stated in a speech that, “Community-based clinics are key to providing better access to high-quality care closer to home. By reducing the distance Veterans have to travel, we hope more Veterans will benefit from the health care services they have earned through their service to our Nation”. The thirteen new CBOCs will span nine states and help support the projected 6.1 million patients and 80 million outpatient visits expected in 20122.

Our firm is a proud supporter of the VA and we have provided prior services across multiple Veteran Integrated Service Networks (VISNs) within the VA. Romanyk Consulting Corp. (RCC) services with the VA, both prior and ongoing, has focused on optimizing Veteran access to care and identifying ideal locations for VA sites of care. We have developed custom and patent pending solutions that are specifically focused on access improvement, sites of care location optimization, and accurate projected workload as well as provider estimating. For more information on these RCC solutions and services please contact us by phone at 1.888.934.1119 ext. 300 or visit us online at www.romanykconsulting.com to learn more. We applaud the efforts of the VA to increase Veteran access to the health care services they deserve.


2 United States Department of Veterans Affairs, 2012