A lot of people leap to cynicism prematurely and don’t see the potential of new technology. Precision medicine for example, is undeniably accomplishing things that just 10-years ago were unimaginable. It allows doctors and researchers to accurately predict what treatment and prevention strategies will work best for an individual. Although it is not accessible yet to most cancer patients, it’s obvious that something new and real is happening here, but it’s not yet clear what. And yet some observers scoff, saying it’s over-hyped.
I think the same applies for gamification. I know from personal experience that after years of struggling with my weight, despite my best intentions, I have been helped (I’ve lost 40 pounds and become a runner) by the encouragement I get from apps.
I anticipate that methods of gamification will be studied for their effectiveness and this information will be used for things that we might not be able to foresee at this stage.
Sometimes I think the sceptics are people who don’t have any skin in the game and are just looking for investment opportunities. That’s exactly the wrong kind of person to ask, for advice in improving care. As I said on stage at Health 2.0 last Fall, “the difference between analysts and activists is that if we identify the cause of a problem but nothing changes, the activist gets mad, while the analysts sell more reports about it. If you want to know what really needs to change, ask an activist, not an analyst.”
As the healthcare industry undergoes the transformative effects of technological innovation, it seems that cultural shifts still need to be made across the board before any real benefits can be felt. On-demand services, constant communication and the ubiquity of smartphones have changed patients’ expectations of healthcare services. Simultaneously, the rise of wearable technology and gamification could be the catalyst for greater focus on preventive care. This year’s Philips Future Health Index has shown that attitudes are changing. Progress is being made across the world towards a form of healthcare that “much like the internet, is ‘always on’ and integrated into daily lives.”