Mobile, social, fun: Games for Health

By Brian Dolan

Brian Dolan, Editor, MobiHealthNewsThis week MobiHealthNews offered up a complimentary report, Mobile Social Fun: Games For Health, which we produced in collaboration with independent analyst Bonnie Feldman. Any one who has attended a mobile health event this past year has likely noticed the increasingly common talk of health gaming, gamification, game mechanics, and so on. It's quickly becoming the go-to strategy for startups working to engage consumers in their own health. And, for the most part, that's a good thing. When appropriate -- why not make healthcare fun?

“Healthcare, in of itself, is boring, while gaming is exciting, fun and addicting,” Qualcomm’s Vice President of Wireless Health, Global Strategy and Market Development Don Jones said. “Applying game theory -- gamification -- to health apps, you can capture the consumer’s imagination and engage them in their own health.”

The report's author, Bonnie Feldman sums up the overall trend nicely in the opening pages of the report:

"Given the widespread adoption of mobile phones and social networks in addition to the popularity of casual gaming, those focused on improving health outcomes see an opportunity to leverage these technologies to drive health behavior change. Admittedly, this sector is still in its early days, but given the trends towards anytime, anywhere and personalized information with group influence, we expect that use of games, game mechanics and gamification will increase in healthcare services."

Get your complimentary copy of the report here.

I'll be discussing the social and gaming trends in mobile health in one of the panels I'll be moderating at next week's mHealth Summit in Washington DC. My other panels include an mHealth 101 session focused on mobile health regulatory bodies and a discussion focused on how to align "function, business, policy, and regulation" in mHealth. Between those three sessions I expect we'll have it all figured out by mid-week. Please send suggested questions for my panelists before the event or tweet them at me here: @MobileHealth and I'll try to ask them on-stage next week.

The MobiHealthNews team will be out in DC in full-force along with our good friends from ListenIn Pictures, who shot and produced our video What is mHealth? at last year's mHealth Summit.

We hope to see a lot of familiar faces next week and meet a good many more in between sessions and on the show floor.