Posts Tagged ‘CapGemini’

Gaming Healthcare Delivery

May 4, 2012 2 comments
Patient Non-compliance: What is the Cost?

Do you take your medicine? It’s a very important question. When patients don’t take their prescribed medication the costs are enormous – not just to the patient but to the health system.

A 2011 study by Capgemini shows a 40% drop in refills for prescriptions after the first six months, resulting in more than $300 billion of unnecessary costs to the healthcare industry each year.   Studies conducted by the World Health Organization, the NIH and others support this result.

This is not a new problem, but with healthcare consuming almost one in five dollars in this economy, real solutions to patient non-adherence are necessary. One promising approach is making a game of medication.

How does gaming work? Three key elements work to engage the user:

  • The challenge to adopt healthy behaviors
  • win condition where events and accomplishments combine to enable success
  • Rewards and  feedback that reinforce positive feelings
Turning Diabetes Treatment into a Game

Let’s look at an example. Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes consumes over 25% of the world’s healthcare expenditure. Roughly 50% of patients fail to meet their blood sugar goals. The main reasons are failure to take their medicines and failure to change their behavior around diet and exercise. Glucose level monitoring and tracking is painful and boring. Diets don’t “feel good”, and wellness by itself is not a sufficient motive for many patients.

Proteus Biomedical from San José, CA is testing a new approach which uses technology to automate most of this process and gamification to create incentives for compliance.  Patients take a pill with a unique computer chip made from food ingredients. This pill senses the patient’s vital signs and transmits this data to a patch worn on the skin. Once the patient gets within 30 feet of their mobile phone data streams are captured and automatically and securely shared with the network of caregivers chosen by the patient. This might be family, friends or their physician – the people most influential in their care.

Proven Medications Plus Technology

This system, “Equa” enables tracking and display of summary and longitudinal data on the cell phone so that patients understand the relationship between behavior and health outcomes.  It uses the data collected and tracked on the phone to educate and motivate the patient. It’s a three-step cycle to frame what is known, prompt an action and reinforce the belief.

The games are Power Challenge Personal (PCP) and MedMatch.  PCP uses a system of tracking heart rate, fitness and sleep goals within a group of “contestants”. There are points earned, a leader board and prizes such as gift certificates to a sporting goods store for best in class accomplishments.  MedMatch uses altruism for adherence. Healthy behaviors result in charitable donation.  Every 20,000 steps walked results in donating a pair of shoes to children in need. Every six hours of sleep a night results in donating a blanket to a homeless shelter. Every medication pill taken on time results in donating a pill.

Are these approaches sustainable over the long term? Just ask anyone who has played and tired of a video game after a time. Social elements which share outcomes data with family and friends is key to maintaining interest. And hopefully the benefits of feeling better will keep patients engaged. But keeping games fresh and engaging will be a challenge.

This will be an interesting space to watch, and perhaps play in over the next several years.

What is your opinion? Is gamification a viable long term strategy to improve patient compliance and health outcomes? Or is it a fad? Click on comments link above to share your view.
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