How Can Gamification Work for the Life Science Companies?

Originally posted on MedCity News by  


When I see gamification news in my email or on twitter, it tends to involve an insurance company or employer wellness plan that wants to motivate behavior change, encourage patient engagement or track ability. But pharmaceutical companies’ interest in the space is increasing, particularly because companies are in search of a way to change patient behavior — especially for chronic conditions. DATATRAK — a data tracking business for clinical trials — – sees gamification in a different perspective. It views gamification as a useful way to improve the execution of clinical trials among life science companies.

DATATRAK offered a a case study of gamification in action by testing it on a group of in-house guinea pigs. It claimed a 300 percent increase in daily activity, simply by giving participants the ability to compare their performance with their peers in realtime. But there were a few factors that contributed to the activity spike.

First, it’s critical to figure out a relevant behavior change goal that applies to all of the participants. Is there something creating a bottleneck in the workflow?

You need to identify a quantifiable way to track improvements and compare your progress in relation to other participants/competitors.  It offers up examples such as education, regulatory tracking, and adherence to data entry timelines.

reasonable time frame needs to be established that’s long enough to show a change in performance but short enough to maintain interest level.

What’s the prize? As an employer wellness exec once told me, a superlative title can make a big difference. The cynic in me sees this as patronizing but according to DATATRAK, it works – in their case the title of Data Hero was reward enough to entice the 300 percent activity spike. But for gamification to work well, the company recommends having multiple stages so participants have some way of measuring improvement in their progress, even if they don’t win bragging rights.