Playing various games is a universal activity, bringing out our instinct for competition and also satisfying our desire for achievement and recognition. With the development of app-based games and social media, more and more people are playing games. There were 2.69 billion video game players worldwide in 20201.
Motivation and engagement.
The widespread popularity of games has led marketers to seek ways to use game mechanics as a tool to increase consumer engagement. We know that games have the potential to teach and motivate people to change their behaviours through carefully designed game mechanics. The key rationale for using games in the learning process is to increase motivation and engagement. Moreover, the mechanisms used in games can stimulate creativity, systematicity and persistence in many people active in the learning process. Such an educational methodology is called ‘gamification’. Gamification also involves importing the elements used in games and applying them to non-game situations.
Gamified for health
Research and case studies in both academic and medical settings provide ample evidence that games can improve patient compliance and healthcare outcomes. The education segment in the healthcare gamification market is anticipated to reach USD 6.2 billion by 20271. Games also work well for teaching routine tasks, such as the correct dispensing of medications by nurses2. But can they be used effectively to educate doctors and market medical drugs?
Play a game, win a life!
Doctors are by nature fond of competition (including with themselves). They already have a strong appetite for digital technology and learning to expand their knowledge. Bayer has correlated two pieces of data: 92% of urologists were male3, and 48% of males played games at least once a month (22% were over 36 years old)4. Therefore, they decided to use gamification to teach how to qualify patients for further therapy after radical treatment for prostate cancer with biochemical recurrence. We have been cooperating with Bayer on marketing activities for many years, so they asked us to help them build a tool using gamification to learn by playing. The physician’s education was aimed at identifying patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer with no metastases but with a high risk of developing them. The treatment was to delay the occurrence of metastases.
We don’t play at gamification – we take it seriously
What were our considerations? Did the game fit the personality of the target group both in terms of content and complexity? Did the content and message comply with the regulations for the promotion of medical devices? Was it clear to the user what data were collected during the game, who was using it and how? And finally – did we have any metrics to measure the return on investment?
We tossed a coin to our Prostate Warrior!
We have borrowed from the game “The Witcher”, which has won many awards in Poland and abroad (around 100 awards and accolades): The Game of the Year, The Best RPG, The Best Licensed Game; the music, the intro video, the soundtrack and the storyline were also honoured. We have built a universe in which medical warriors, or the Prostate Warriors, fight the Monster (played by hormone-dependent prostate cancer) for the lives of Good Men.
Prostate cancer is a tough game…
The population of patients with metastatic, hormonotherapy-sensitive prostate cancer is diverse and involves several subgroups of patients. It is why, at the beginning of the game, the doctor could choose their powers (character selection) and the men to fight for (differentpatients).
…but we have a multiplayer mode with real pros
Several recognised authorities in the fields of urology and oncology have involved in the content verification (the game received the patronage of the Polish Urological Society). The drag-and-drop tasks led the players through the successive phases of qualifying patients for treatment. Each task was accompanied by an expert commentary so that, in the case of wrong answers, the player could get help and understand how to proceed correctly. A certificate of appreciation awaits the urologists who complete the game error-free (one can play the game multiple times).
We are not noobs in this game
Prostate Warriors is another educational game in HealthWay’s portfolio. Previously, the TITU game for children with asthma won a platinum Hermes award. Hermes Creative Awards is one of the oldest and largest creative competitions in the world. Each year, international competition judges evaluate the creative industry’s best publications, branding collateral, websites, videos, and advertising, marketing, and communication programs. In Poland, the game ranked first among educational games for many months. Thanks to the game, many children have learned the correct application of inhalation drugs.
HealthWay, the Polish Member of TheBlocPartners, is a multichannel healthcare communications company based in Warsaw, Poland. Our mission – The Way for Growth – is to find the way for the growth of our Clients’ products and businesses while respecting the patients’ and healthcare professionals’ right to reliable information.
- Johnsen HM, Fossum M, Vivekananda-Schmidt P, Fruhling A, Slettebø Å. Developing a Serious Game for NurseEducation. J GerontolNurs. 2018 Jan 1;44(1):15-19.