Healthy and loyal employees or customers bring a lot of significant advantages to an organisation’s bottom line. CME shares insights into how businesses can develop a good healthcare gamification programme.
In the past year, well-being awareness has increased significantly, with pandemic repercussions enforcing proactive lifestyle importance. Similarly, gamification has also risen in prominence, emerging as a powerful behavioural change tool. Due to its effectiveness and influence, more and more organisations, such as private companies, insurers, and healthcare payers, are now implementing gamified healthcare programmes, coupling them with rewards to drive permanent behavioural changes to their employees’ or customers’ lifestyles.
Everyone would like to improve their health, so these factors represent a win-win scenario. However, people often lack motivation or cannot access the required coaching to achieve their goals. As such, organisations have identified the opportunity to dispel these avoidable aspects, with gamification a valuable gateway to shaping healthier, more dynamic behaviours and forging long-standing relationships. After all, healthy and loyal employees or customers have a lot to bring to an organisation’s bottom line.
In terms of how healthcare gamification works, organisations enroll their staff or customers into a programme using a mobile app and smart devices, such as bands, watches, and smart water bottles. Users then receive personalised goals covering health and well-being factors, including calorie intake, water consumption, sleep patterns, and physical activity.
There are also important aspects within these gamification phases to consider. One is that gamification techniques are used to engage players, such as motivational messages, achiever badges, challenges among peers, and leaderboards. Another is the motivational element of gamification. When daily or weekly goals are achieved, people earn points and ultimately redeem them into gifts from rewards catalogues.
Rewards are a powerful way to amplify the short and long-term proactivity benefits and encourage people to continue leading healthy lifestyles. For example, inactive individuals could be presented with family bicycle rental coupons, those who struggle to sleep could receive spa coupons, or others who concentrate on proactivity at every opportunity could receive entertainment coupons.
The organisational advantage of rewards catalogs should also not be overlooked. Besides receiving valuable feedback, or people using gifts to boost select programmes and engagement tactics, catalogs can also include perks related to the organisation’s business. Here, they can enter into bonus schemes or offer discounts on specific products that result in cross and upsell opportunities.
Deloitte previously assessed what makes gamified products successful, identifying fun, friends, and feedback as three main drivers. Firstly, successful health games should be fun and enjoyable. With each completed task, users can receive updates, awards, rewards, and a spot on a leaderboard ranking. By promoting physical activity, users boost their health and reduce their stress levels.
Secondly, games trigger motivational competition, creating social challenges between participants. By sharing individual progress with friends, users feel socially accountable for persevering, ultimately raising awareness by encouraging others to stay fit. Thirdly, users can customise their profiles and track their personal history through constant feedback, with informative tips regarding healthy practices and unhealthy habit consequences.
Gamified healthcare programmes prevent illness through the proper behavioural change framework, and the kidney stones case is a stellar example. When an employee suffers from kidney stones, work hours are lost, productivity declines, and healthcare bill inflates. For insurers and healthcare payers, a kidney stones case costs USD 2,500 on average, and the condition often recurs without changes to one’s water intake.
Many illnesses are preventable by inducing positive change to health and activity practices, and demonstrating care for employees or customers through programmes reduces sickness and boosts retention, motivation, efficiency, and loyalty. BambooHR reported earning nearly USD 4 ROI on every dollar spent on employees wellness programmes, and healthcare payers’ projected ROI for kidney stones patients is estimated at 23%.
While gamification is attractive, gamified solutions do require comprehensive upfront planning and design. Global research and advisory firm Gartner have predicted that 80% of gamified applications will not meet business objectives, primarily due to poor design. Before opting for their technology partner or selecting a solution, organisations must verify several factors for success.
Firstly, personalisation is crucial for players to achieve their goals. They can compete and receive badges based on personal performance, and each user should have a profile where they can view their progress and share it with others. Then comes multiple gamification layers, and badges, leaderboards, points, and quests must be present to define goals and encourage motivation. Furthermore, an excellent user experience is also essential. Game mobile app interfaces and connected devices should be hassle-free, human-centric, and accurate, with digital enablers enhancing experiences and encouraging users to join challenges. Organisations often raise the complexity in terms of negotiating and building their rewards catalog. However, this is counter-productive, and they should opt for solutions that already have an embedded gifts catalog.
Healthcare gamification is an invaluable opportunity for organisations to promote proactive lifestyles and engage in lasting employee or customer relationships. Many are already leveraging these insights, applying learnings and knowledge to ensure gamification is used as a force for good. For those aspiring to do the same in the early stages of their healthcare gamification journeys, understanding key success factors and ensuring avoidable results barriers are not encountered will position them to promote healthier lifestyles and introduce people they employ or serve to a new era of proactivity, for the long term, interactive engagement model.