“Gamification has a perennial presence at health tech conferences, but never seems to take central stage,” noted Jonah Comstock on mobilehealthnews (see here).

Gamification is also a buzzword often heard at pharma industry conferences (see here). Not only hasn’t gamification taken “center stage” in the pharmaceutical industry, it is, IMHO, at the trough of disillusionment of the Gartner hype cycle (read “Is Pharma Gamification Dead in the Water?“).

One way that Comstock cited to “prod along” gamification is through “pointsification”, or “apps where the only game-like strategy is the use of badges and points to motivate people.” Charlie Schroder, a Silicon Valley digital strategist and consultant, said at the HIMSS16 conference:

“In Silicon Valley we’ve played around with a number of incentives including cash rewards versus badges and points, and badges and points win out every time over cash, over anything tangible, and it’s across every demographic.”

Interesting. Of course, it all depends on how one “plays around with incentives.”

Michael Fergusson, CEO of healthcare software and game design company Ayogo, reminds us that “Pharma Games Must Be Careful Not to Incentivize Patients to Lie for Rewards.” “Most gamification in the consumer world is created to get someone to do something, mostly just to buy your product, and then that’s it. Pharma goals are very different,” he said. “In healthcare, you have to be careful because the goal is not to get someone to do something once, but change behavior over time.”

Ferguson contends that patients who “get rewards or virtual currency for real-world goods may ‘game’ the system. That is, they become more concerned about collecting rewards than the treatment. When they meet with a physician, they may even say that they are taking medication or following a treatment plan when they’re not, just to continue to get the rewards. That, in effect, incentivizes them to lie.”

So how do you make games that work for patients? Listen to this Pharma Marketing Talk interview of Andy Yeoman, co-founder of Focus Active Learning:

More Business Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Pharmaguy on BlogTalkRadio

You also can visit this Pharma Marketing Talk Segment Page and listen to the live show or the archived audio podcast afterward. This show and ALL Pharma Marketing Talk shows are available as podcasts via PMT on iTunes (FREE!).