Are Healthcare Games Overrated?

What we call Healthcare encompasses so much that the industry can be hard to define. Same thing with Health Care (“Healthcare” referring to an industry, “Health Care” referring to the arts, sciences and humanities of care).

As digital technologies like mobile applications proliferate in adoption and evolve in purpose, it’s becoming clear that games and gaming have important roles to play within our health.

Further enhancing these technologies are social capacities engendered by today’s media – social gaming in other words.


I think there may be a temptation to think that games can be the “next big thing”. Indeed they can be – from simple games focused on weight or exercise to games designed for physical, cardiac or post-CVA rehabilitation.

These kinds of uses are, for the most part, about behavioral change and learning and feedback.

Yes, behavior and learning and education are vital elements in Health Care. But…

…But so are: genetics, pathologies, environmental pollutants, psychiatric conditions, medical knowledge and experience, core willingnesses to healthy lifestyles and so on.

Yes, mobile will continue to play important roles in Healthcare and Health Care – and so too will applications designed for mobility.


When you step back at the larger picture, however, technologies like mobile and applications and social media are highly transient in their nature.

Gaming applications are not final destinations.

We are living in a Technological Stream – there are no final points, only currents and turns and turbulence and – with hope – moments of calm.

Why am I writing this post?

Opportunity Cost.

There are opportunity costs when paying too much attention to a small set of problems and solutions when so many pass by us.

I think it’s wonderful that Gaming will play a role in our wellness and in our not-so-wellness.

Are healthcare games overrated? The answer is subjective. But a tendency towards hype certainly exists . There are, after all, business interests involved – and that’s OK, but we do have to manage our attention investments.

But I do think we aught to consider more than just behavior. We have in front of us fantastic science and technologies that can vastly expand our knowledge of the human body – from our consciousness to the tiny mechanisms that compose our DNA and RNA. So much to learn.

And therein perhaps lies one area where gaming – or, more specifically, Game Theory – may have a role to play in Healthcare: helping us to better understand the fundamental governing structures, patterns and processes of Health – of wholeness…of the wonders and woes of being alive.

@PhilBaumann – @HealthIsSocial – Newsletter


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