Gaming Mechanics and Actionable Insight in Healthcare

To wrap up the first series of themes at the Intersection of Health, Wellness, and Technology – I’m going to briefly talk about two trends that have been applied in technology but haven’t yet made it into the healthcare world – Actionable Insights and Gaming Mechanics.

3. Actionable Insight
Most health websites today offer little more personalization than quizzes, calculators, and symptom checkers – way too much data and not enough about what’s right for me.

To win as the next generation WebMD in this market, products must deliver a far more interactive, in-depth, clear, and actionable experience for the consumer, while simultaneously gathering robust consumer data that offers pharmaceutical companies new marketing opportunities that are more efficient, measurable, and actionable than any available online today.

PatientsLikeMe, Cure Together, and Change:Healthcare are at the forefront of this development – however, are focused mainly on data collection and presentation.  For early adopters of these products, this is great because most people tracking their own health just want to see the data.  However, for these types of tools to enter the mainstream – tools need to offer actionable insight to its users.

Even if its not the 100% best decision – the ability to give the user some call-to-action ala – is a huge opportunity.
4. Gaming Theory Applied to Healthcare
Though prevalent on consumer sites today, no sites have attempted to use gaming theory to attempt to guide consumer behavior.

Personally, I have been tracking my health and personal data for the last two years (and most is publicly available on the tabs above in this blog.)  Tied into this tracking is a point system – where each activity I complete in a day is worth a dollar towards some bigger goals.  (My new iPad and summer trip to Costa Rica were a result of this program.)  By tying an upside goal to competition of healthy actions (as well as a correlated downside consequence of not getting my goal to inaction) – my desire to exercise and be healthy is dramatically increased.

Developing an easier to use and set-up system that rewards users for healthy behavior – medication adherence, eating healthy, or exercising – has the opportunity to help a broader subset of the population.

The next week of blog posts will focus less on themes – but back more on current lessons and the marketplace – before diving back into my next theme – The Connected Home.


P.S. I’m looking to do more interviews with young entrepreneurs – if you’d like to participate or would like to hear from someone in particular – contact me on Twitter or directly email me via my page.

Listening to: The Format – Tie the Rope

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I work for True Ventures, an early-stage venture capital fund with offices in San Francisco and Palo Alto. We partner with promising entrepreneurs at the earliest stages in the technology market providing hands-on management support to guide our portfolio companies through the challenges of early growth.