ecently, Sean Parker, the first president of Facebook, issued some harsh criticism of social networks in an interview on Axios.
He claims they work to exploit “a vulnerability in human psychology” and that those networks will eventually “consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible.” He claims the networks do this by creating a system to generate addictive loops that “sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever.”
It's very powerful and used by all of the major social media sites which continue to grow and consume our time and attention.
But what if we could take those same techniques Facebook used to grow to over 2 billion active users a month and applied them to something positive, like health education?
Recently, Tom Chamberlain, PharmD, CEO and Founder of EdLogics, gave a presentation to the Global Action Summit on the gamification of health. In his presentation, Dr. Chamberlain described various types of gaming technologies, such as video games, mobile apps, virtual reality, augmented reality, and interactive learning, and how they are being used in the medical field.
Chamberlain went on to discuss the key principles of gamification, including instant rewards, milestones, status, and competition. He described how a “little dopamine hit” is generated through playing these games and through the use of gamification technologies.
Driving engagement and facilitating behavior changes are the “holy grails” of health improvement programs. If we can get individuals, employees, plan members, and/or communities more engaged in understanding and acting on their own health, we can see vast improvements in a population’s health and lowered costs. This is why applying gamification principles to health education is so exciting.
Low health literacy is associated with poor health outcomes and higher costs. It’s pretty clear that if a person does not understand their health, their health issues, the healthcare system, or their health insurance, they won’t be able to maintain or improve their health, select the right provider, adhere to treatment, and more.
These approaches are not just fun and games when it comes to health — they are using real science in an effort to drive behavior change and improve one’s life.
If you’d like more information on the EdLogics platform for your employees, health plan or as a broker/consultant, please contact us.
A version of this article was originally published 11/11/2017.