Gamification is becoming massively popular in the healthcare industry as more experts understand its benefits, which include better patient outcomes and improved staff training. 

The cornerstone benefit of Gamification is that people perform better when a mentally or physically taxing activity turns into a game, and rewards are earned based on performance. 

Today, Gamification is used to boost engagement and workflows in numerous fields, including learning, banking, software, iGaming, Fintech, healthcare, food & beverage industry, and others. 

According to forecasts, the global gamification market is set to hit $4.2 billion in 2022.

Gamification In Healthcare Explained

Gamification in healthcare means applying game-like elements, techniques, and mechanics to non-gaming situations to improve clinical outcomes.  

Gamification in healthcare usually manifests itself in one of the following ways:  

  • Success-measuring progress bars: They drive up service value by invoking psychological biases related to progress.  
  • Progress and achievement sharing: It fosters the competitive spirit to increase service quality. 
  • Motivational gifts: By giving participants badges of honor, medals, and other confidence-boosting virtual gifts as they progress, you provide them with a sense of achievement, which in turn makes them more engaged in the process.   

Medical applications that have been around for a while have incorporated multiple gamification exercises for the elderly, people with movement impairments, back pain sufferers, and other groups.

The primary health and wellness branches that have applied Gamification are:

  • Self-management medication and chronic condition
  • Children’s Healthcare
  • Fitness and nutrition
  • Emotional health
  • Physical therapy and rehab

A gamified health app can do wonders for users and healthcare professionals alike. When people enjoy using a specific app, healthcare experts provide an even more engaging experience with the brand and the app through Gamification. And this brings in even more users and draws more attention to the brand or service.

History Оf Gamification In Healthcare

Gamification and healthcare have a long history, but the term found popularity in the field as recently as 2015.

Three decades ago, a company named HealthPoint introduced a program to reward people for leading healthy lifestyles, awarding them points for prizes they could redeem. HealthPoint was seen as an example for being one of the first companies to bring Gamification to the healthcare field — and it did it with great success. 

As video games were gaining steam in the 90s, healthcare experts started recognizing their potential if applied to the industry.

In 1993, Microsoft created HealthQuest — an interactive computer game developed to teach diabetics about their condition through immersive quizzes and puzzle games. 

And the revolution continued throughout the 2000s when Nintendo released the Wii console, which introduced many games that helped people become more physically active in the comforts of their homes.  

Gamification in healthcare has proven that it can better boost adherence rates and health outcomes over traditional approaches such as consultations and lectures. 

Benefits And Promises Of Healthcare Gamification 

Here are the leading benefits of Healthcare Gamification: 

1. Intrinsic motivation

Healthcare gamification can motivate patients intrinsically. They experience meaningful engagement in continuous usage. Hence, extrinsic motivations, e.g., social pressure, open the gates to a more accepted kind of motivation.

2. Accessibility 

Mobile phones are equipped with activity trackers, processors, storage, sensors, and displays that play a crucial role in healthcare gamification. Hence, health applications that use Gamification are widely available and accessible to most people.

3. Efficiency 

Adding game-like elements to existing health practices is doable and highly effective. It also enhances the user experience and drives business. 

Gamification Techniques In The Healthcare Field

Some of the most exciting developments of Gamification in healthcare are in the education branch. In healthcare, Gamification can be used for virtual simulation and games containing educational aspects. Apps centered around patients can be used to keep track of their eating habits, physical activity, therapy, etc. 

Professional Training In Healthcare

Various methods can be used to improve healthcare training for workers. For example, usually, educators in medical schools use quizzes to test their students’ knowledge and measure their retention levels. Some educators also use virtual reality (VR) simulations to test how well their students can treat patients, in realistic scenarios. 

Patient Education

Medical institutions use Gamification to captivate patients and improve their knowledge in the field of healthcare. To accomplish this, they use an array of therapy and healthcare applications, and patients are monitored remotely. 

The primary mission here is to provide people with the best possible medical care, and thanks to Gamification, this is achieved with significant effect. Games and apps can significantly help patients care for themselves while learning about nutrition, physical exercise, rest, and recovery techniques. All the while, they also become more comfortable with monitoring their progress. These approaches provide patients with a solid understanding of what they need to do and not do to become healthy as they work with professionals toward the best treatment plans. 

Implementing Gamification In Healthcare 

When creating a healthcare app with gamification mechanics, you need to focus on the pain points that it can work on strengthening — for example, issues that arise during rehabilitation, motivation loss while dieting, etc. You need to analyze patients’ needs carefully to create an app that can help deal with them. 

To create an effective healthcare app using Gamification, you need to pay special attention to two key points: 


A robust analytical system is needed in the app so that people can monitor their progress and understand how their past and present results compare. Then, you should be able to create the app with the required needs in mind. To make the experience more engaging, you can introduce gaming mechanics like a point system, badges, leaderboards, and some fun challenges to make the app more alluring for people. 

Rapid feedback 

People should receive instant feedback on their progress through rewards, achievement recognition, or even a doctor’s recommendation. 

Healthcare Gamification Trends

  • Social connection: Social media does wonders for healthcare gamification, as people need social connection in today’s globalized and online-based environment. People who share their achievements on social media with friends and relatives become more motivated to stick to their plans and become healthier. 
  • Attention to different health issues: Gamification can benefit many cognitive and emotional areas. Many bio-feedback applications, for example, can help to release anxiety with the help of ocean sounds and special breathing exercises.
  • Telehealth: Long-distance clinical healthcare has significantly benefited from electronic information and telecommunications integration. This practice became popular in the healthcare field during the coronavirus pandemic, making life easier for medical centers and patients. Producing great results so far, telehealth app usage is projected to grow in popularity in the coming years.
  • Simulation games: This is an excellent tool for boosting the knowledge and betterment of medical researchers and clinicians, upgrading medical procedures, and monitoring workflow. Here, engaging simulations are used to positively impact the patient’s health by helping them with behavioral consequences related to health. 

The Market Of Healthcare Gamification: What You Should And Shouldn’t Do

To have a gamified app that works, you’ll need to know how to succeed and provide the right conditions for benefit-driven Gamification both for you and your users. To have these questions answered, first we need to understand what actions can negatively impact your standing in the market of healthcare gamification. 

You must avoid a system that can bankrupt your reputation or waste precious financial resources. So what is the best path to a successful gamified healthcare app? Here’s what you need to know:

  • Your core idea is key: Carefully navigating through all stages of idea validation, from the first stages of development to market analysis, will help you ensure that the app will become popular and worthy of investment. 
  • Your app needs to appeal to users but not turn them into addicts: Games should be fun and educational, and challenges need to be achievable yet not too easy to bore the user. 
  • Keeping in line with gamification trends: These include 3D, AR, and IoT can drive your app’s value immensely, providing users with engaging, intellectual, needed, and fun experiences. 
  • Choose your tech wisely. Focus on vital elements such as the provider’s experience in the industry, proficiency in specific technologies, project cases, and the showcased portfolio. 

Final Words

Adding Gamification to your healthcare app can significantly benefit your patients and your business. Besides enhancing the patient’s experience, it also increases their compliance with medical programs and procedures. 

Gamification will keep on inspiring professionals in the field of healthcare, but designers should be careful when devising their creative strategies to avoid potential pitfalls.