Love them or hate them, technology buzz words are here to stay. Often they’re helpful to get people interested in a new technology. But other times, a buzzword becomes so overhyped that it becomes loathed. The term “cloud computing” nearly became a hated buzzword a few years ago, simply because everyone used it, but didn’t really know what it meant. Over time however, people eventually learned the true power of the cloud and the term was accepted because it became a legitimate technology to the IT community.
A recent healthcare survey showed that the most hated buzzword of 2012 was “Gamification of Healthcare”. And while the term was thrown around early in the year as the answer to any and all healthcare problems, it turns out that gamification isn’t magical solution that many touted it to be.
The term “gamification” as it relates to IT has been discussed in depth before. For those that don’t know, it refers to the idea of using “game mechanics and game design techniques in non-game contexts. Typically gamification applies to non-game applications and processes, in order to encourage people to adopt them, or to influence how they are used.” In 2011, Gartner research stated that by 2015, 50% of organizations that want to innovate processes will look to gamification. But now that it’s late 2012, my guess is that Gartner would want to significantly reduce that percentage, as gamification simply doesn’t mesh with many processes.
Specific to healthcare, gamification has been widely used for physical therapy and for the purpose of medication administration. Also heavily pushed is the idea of turning personal wellness and fitness regimens into a game. The thought is, get people to forget that they’re in physical therapy or taking medication and instead, have them focus on points and “leveling up”, just like a video game. While the technique tends to work in the short-term, it simply doesn’t seem to have a lasting affect on patients — thus, the buzzword as it relates to healthcare, becomes tarnished and even hated by medical professionals.
The healthcare community has taken great strides to adopt any and all technologies that may help the ability to further the care of patients. And while they are quick to experiment with new technologies, they are also quick to reject the ones that don’t pay dividends in a relatively short amount of time. So while gamification may still be a legitimate buzzword in other areas, the buzzword has worn thin in the healthcare industry.