Playing to win: how gaming enhances medical treatments

Alex Ruiz
4 de February de 2022 · 6 min de lectura

The Health industry is betting on techniques and methods developed from gaming in an effort to offer patients new tools to improve their quality of life. Through different experiences and technologies, patients can have better treatment, while doctors and laboratories can be provided a more precise following. What can video games contribute to Health?

One of the main challenges doctors and members of the Health industry face is getting patients to adhere to their treatments. Failure to do so has serious consequences, all of which are negative. That’s why elaborating strategies and finding support in technology is fundamental in achieving better experiences that increase the adoption of treatments.

In recent years, the industry has introduced its gaming techniques. These tools include technologies in the form of interactive videos, virtual reality and augmented reality, amongst others. These initiatives can improve patients adherence to treatments since patients can find a more immediate purpose for their efforts. 

However, this is nothing new. A few years prior, scientists of the University of Montreal, Canada, put together an experiment in which they made a group of patients game. After six months, the group of patients showed a significant increase in gray matter in the hippocampus, improving memory and preventing the effects of aging such as Alzheimer’s. 

These gaming tactics specially benefit kids, teenagers and young adults. In Brazil, for example, doctors and developers presented the game DigesTower, oriented towards young children. This software has educational end-goals, like for example: understanding the importance of a healthy diet and physical exercise; distinguish which organs digest the different food groups; understand that excessive consumption of fatty foods can be harmful; and to understand which organs are responsible for digestion and enzyme action in the digestive tract.

As a result, DigesTower showed amazing results in regards to quality nutrition and physical exercise, promoting health and confronting childhood obesity.


Apps and games for transplant patients

According to a report by the Chilean Collaborative Group, 50% of transplant patients forget or stop taking their medication, putting the organ and their health in a high risk situation. It goes without saying that Health is not a game. In this regard, there are existing programs in Latin America that combine gaming philosophy with patient care. 

In Argentina and Chile, for example, a major laboratory united with institutes dedicated to the coordination and donation of organ transplants, developed a platform that assists young adults and children who have received a transplant in developing healthier habits.

The goal of this project was to create digital experiences for pediatric patients who had undergone organ transplants. Given the particularities of the target audience to which it was directed, the task was to create an engaging mobile experience based on gamification techniques rewarding young users for remembering to take their medication and build healthy habits that would help them take care of themselves in the long term.

Each user has an avatar with whom they emotionally identify in order to complete tasks in the game. Furthermore, the “character” changes mood based on whether the treatment is being followed or not. Adherence to treatment is then encouraged, and stress and emotions are tracked, thanks to the identification of each patient with their avatar.

Similar to how it’s done in video games, where players seek specific goals and are rewarded for their accomplishments, patients are given incentives for achieving each therapy objective.

In order to empathize with children and adolescents, the project used an optimal tone of communication, copy and visual design to assist the experience.

Doctors and laboratories, on the other hand, can better understand and forecast the habits of these patients thanks to the use of digital analytics for monitoring. Furthermore, the employment of Artificial Intelligence techniques allows for the creation of relevant alerts and smart notifications for users, helping them in their recovery process. 


3 Key takeaways:

  •  Empowerment of transplant patients

Through the creation of an avatar that motivates them to live a healthier lifestyle and take their medications.

  • Presence of a guardian figure

This may be a family member or doctors with access to the app’s data in order to track the patient’s process.

  • Project that can be scaled to other regions

Aside from the fact that the project began in Chile and Argentina, it has potential to be scaled to other countries. All due to the understanding of the issues and ways to respond to them.


At Multiplica we have a history of creating relevant experiences for the Pharmaceutical industry, working with clients including Grifols, Almirall, Novartis, Lily & Amgen, amongst others. We welcome you to contact Alex Ruiz, Multiplica’s Health Industry Global Head, to learn more about how we use gamification to assist our pharmaceutical laboratory clients enhance treatment adherence. 

In addition, we invite you to read one of our latest notes: Pharma 4.0: How to create relevant experiences in digital environments”.

Quizás también te interese...