|Photo | Luke Cheser|
|Smart watches and other wearable applications are creating new opportunities for people to live healthier lives.|
Could gamification be the next big thing in encouraging people to live healthier lifestyles?
Seems like health apps are taking over. From Apple Watches and Fitbits to the Peloton Fitness app, they’re helping more people stay in shape.
Gamification is an online marketing technique that uses game elements to encourage users to engage with a product or service. For example, score points, compete, earn badges, and stay on the leaderboard.
As health technology continues to evolve, it is helping consumers set and achieve their fitness goals.
“Some people might not want to jump right into the gym and have their numbers read on a scale or something like that,” says Garrison Cherry, a physical therapist at Atrium Health. “But they can actually With direct access to the app or whatever device they’re using, they can get that security while still encouraging them to live a healthy lifestyle.”
One way to get people on board with their overall fitness is to turn it into a game where they can earn points — or better yet, reward them for their hard work. People love free stuff.
For example, gift cards to coffee shops or grocery stores, or waived gym membership fees.
Gamification could have potentially huge knock-on effects in black communities by reducing obesity and other chronic diseases.
Since African Americans are the most likely to develop diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease in the United States, health-related incentives can help change outcomes.
“Sitting is the new smoking,” Cherry said. “If we can get people to act, especially when we know that we’re going to be driven by technology, I think that’s going to be a really big key to getting people to their weight loss goals, and generally lower blood pressure or cholesterol levels. I think that’s It will be and has been a great benefit of the proliferation of technology in the fitness space.”
If health insurance companies start offering health incentives, it could motivate people to think differently about their health.
“The best incentive for most Americans in the income range is, of course, to give up [health insurance] Premiums that achieve certain goals,” said healthcare IT innovator Jeff Margolis, “meaning that the personal portion or the family portion of what a person pays for their health insurance can be credited or adjusted down, or copays for prescription drugs, etc. It could be giving up. “
The downside of gamification is that data is shared and tracked over the internet. But this is a common risk any consumer will encounter when using technology.
“I’m firmly in the camp of overcoming it,” said Margolis, author of “Not Just in Disease but in Health: Moving Beyond Disease Care for Health Optimization for All.” “Most of the information about us that we need to improve our lives comes from everyday data, not medical data. I just think consumers should always be able to opt out, but the default should be that you opt in so that what you know can be applied to your health benefits.”