Skip to main content

Healthcare and Gaming: Gamification Techniques to Improve Education

Two nurses using a tablet while sitting on the ground

Fill out the form below and we'll email you more information about UCF's online healthcare programs.

It’s no secret that technology continues to shape the healthcare industry, providing new avenues for the delivery of patient care, the management of patient records and more. Demonstrating its wide impact, healthcare technology isn’t always patient-facing nor directly applicable to care contexts. In fact, some of the most significant innovations involve the use of technology in a more behind-the-scenes capacity, including in the training and development of clinical professionals.

Gamification techniques, in particular, have provided new channels for instruction and professional development among doctors, nurses and other clinicians. These platforms and techniques draw on the tropes and structures of video games, but employ them in a more focused educational context.

One of the best ways to learn about the use and impact of gamification techniques in healthcare education is to connect with a forward-thinking online healthcare degree program, where the latest innovations are made central to the student experience. The right education can provide a valuable familiarity with gamification technologies, and prepare students to implement these technologies efficiently and meaningfully.

What is Gamification?

Gamification can be defined as the use of gaming concepts in non-gaming settings. For example, structural elements that are native to video gaming can be employed in a wide range of training settings, enabling students or practitioners to compete alone or against themselves as they seek to hone their skills.

Gamification techniques can be employed not just in professional training settings, but also in everyday life. For example, any consumer fitness apps and step-counters are heavily gamified, enabling users to track their progress, try to beat their personal records or connect with other users in friendly competition. The goal of gamification is to motivate the user into forward momentum, and also provide a way of quantifying and rewarding progress.

Gamification Techniques to Improve Education

Some of the most promising aspects of gamification pertain to education. Looking at healthcare in particular, gamification can take the form of simulations, virtual reality (VR) constructs and games designed with educational purposes in mind. Patient-centered apps may be used to help monitor the progress of an individual’s nutrition, daily physical activity, physical therapy and more.

Healthcare Professional Training

There are a number of ways in which using gamification can improve the process of training healthcare workers. For instance, traditionally, professors in medical schools use multiple choice quiz games to test students and measure their retention of key concepts. Alternatively, some professors use virtual reality simulations to gauge their students’ ability to treat patients, allowing them to practice certain skills in a realistic and high-pressure environment, but without the need to involve actual patients. There may also be examples of gamification that don’t require technology, even if that’s something as simple as having medical students compete to find creative solutions to hypothetical healthcare dilemmas, or using a point system to reward those who most rigorously follow medical protocols and procedures.

Patient Education

Additionally, medical organizations implement gamification techniques to capture the attention of patients and improve their healthcare education. Organizations do this through a range of healthcare and therapy apps as well as remote patient monitoring. Examples range from CardioTeach, which provides patients with an overview of healthy heart functions, to the Decide app, which helps patients make informed choices about the kinds of care they should seek.

The goal of healthcare is to provide patients with the best medical care, and gamification techniques make this possible. Games and interactive apps can help patients become their own care advocates, helping them develop their understanding of the best nutrition, exercise, rest, and recovery principles and empowering them to monitor their own progress along the way. This also provides patients with a better understanding of their own health and wellness needs, enabling them to be more collaborative and communicative with providers as they work together toward a treatment plan.

Learn Gamification Techniques to Improve Education

As students pursue careers in healthcare, they may encounter some uses of gamification in the classroom. Additionally, there is great merit to learning how to harness and implement gamification techniques within a professional setting, whether to help develop team members or educate patients.

There are a number of key skills necessary to implement gamification in these ways. Here are a few common examples.

  • Technological savvy is required to leverage the most recent innovations and stay up to date on how gamification techniques are evolving.
  • It is also important to master the art of teamwork, which is necessary to implement gamification on a broad level and maintain consistent standards.
  • Leadership skills are necessary to set a vision and provide a clear sense of direction for how gamification can be used.
  • Customer-relations skills are also required, as it may be necessary to help patients or staff understand and troubleshoot their applications.
  • Sales and marketing skills can be helpful as healthcare providers seek buy-in for their gamification efforts.
  • Organizational, decision making and goal setting skills can all be invaluable for building a professional culture in which gamification is valued and innovation is sought.

An excellent way to develop these skills is to pursue a degree from a leading-edge organization in a field that is related to healthcare but also inclusive of foundational technology skills.

Discover the Benefits of Gamification in Healthcare

Through the online healthcare degree programs at the University of Central Florida, students can discover how gamification techniques can be beneficial in today’s healthcare environments — and how they can reshape the future of patient care. Learn more about the wide range of healthcare degree programs offered online at UCF.