While patients know lifestyle has a huge impact on their health—70 percent of all healthcare costs are linked to behaviors—nudging them towards change is difficult. People assume the worst will not happen to them and the future benefits of a healthy lifestyle are too far off to convince them to act today.
How then, to get more people to engage with their health? In a recent Accenture pilot study, more than 5,000 participants demonstrated that gamification is a useful means to help change people’s behavior. More than 70 percent of those in the study, which challenged participants to walk 10,000 steps a day, reported they had done more exercise over the program.
The program worked because it applied many of the principles seen in gaming. Participants were set clear goals and they received instant feedback on their progress. They were offered incentives and rewards to post more steps, and they were able to compete with other participants in the study. This community experience, offered through social networks, was particularly important: the more people shared their scores, the more engaged they became.