This article has been originally posted on D La Repubblica by Laura Traldi and it includes an interview with Stefano Vitta - Partner, Strategy and Development at Healthware Engage
Can playing a videogame replace a pill? As gamification enters the health sectors, digital therapies promise to change the way we heal. And the role of patients in the process.
To understand how gamification is entering the world of e-health you have to imagine a scene. A little girl takes a selfie: a crown, a touch of lipstick and she is transformed into a princess. Meanwhile, her little brother is practicing with a lightsaber: Watà, the strongest ninja in the world, is teaching him how to use it.
When gaming is not just fun
But the space in which all this happens is the waiting room of one of 600 dental offices, 3 hospitals and 8 Italian dental clinics where the kids have stopped thinking about the drill. But the App they use (called Super Powers) is not provided just for entertainment. The game, in fact, has been designed to prevent the fear from affecting correct intervention; and to ensure that the prescribed therapy is practiced thoroughly at home.
Gamification has entered the health sector
Gamification is the transposition of logics that belong to the gaming world in the production of non-gaming services. That is: enigmas, level crossings, competition to get to a reward that become methods to make people do specific activities in the most diverse sectors. From management training to school activities, gamification has established itself progressively over the years. But only now it has literally exploded also in the health sector, the last one to be touched by the digital disruption. And last November, Research N Reports market research firm calculated that by 2022 the gamification business in healthcare will grow by 55.1%.
Italy is part of this “game”
In the process of gamification of healthcare, Italy is present. For example, the start up Brave Potions is based in Cagliari: and it invented, financed and produced the App Super Poteri. «It reduces fear in 88% of the children being treated by dentists and its allows safer and faster treatments», explains managing director Alberto Piras. And so, after the results of the validation tests, the game will soon be exported to the United States. Italians are also the creators of Tommi, a digital game based on VR that helps young cancer patients (300,000 a year) to positively face their long path of care.
An App, rather than a pill?
But can an app really have an effect similar of that of a drug? How far can health gamification take us?
«It’s possible, of course, especially in some areas of medicine such as neurology or physical rehabilitation», says Stefano Vitta. «But the sector is still in its infancy. Only a few months ago, tests confirmed the effectiveness of an American video game for the treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The next step to officially turn it into a “drug” is the OK of the Food and Drug Administration, with a path that will begin shortly».
Read the full article on Designatlarge.it