Proponents of the gamification of healthcare have had a summer filled with accomplishments to support the their cause, particularly in recent weeks as a couple leading academic institutions have made it abundantly clear they believe the gamification trend is more than just a passing fad.

Mary Ann Leibert, Inc. announced the launch of “Games for Health: Research, Development and Clinical Applications” (G4H), a new peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the development, use, and applications of game technology for improving physical and mental health and well-being. Mary Ann Leibert, Inc. is one of the premiere publishers of telemedicine research and a very well respected source of peer reviewed research.





Early issues of the journal include research on the effectiveness and design strategies of:

  • games intended to develop the social skills of people with conditions such as autism
  • Exergames aimed at motivating more activity in physical education classes
  • an alternative reality game designed to increase physical activity
  • Exergames for young adults and families
  • games to help treat eating disorders and habits such as smoking
  • games to improve cognitive function in older adults
  • the use of simulations to help develop the interpersonal skills of family members of veterans suffering from PTSD

Beginning this fall, Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania will offer the first course dedicated solely to gamification as it applies to business. The course will be taught by Kevin Werbach, Associate Professor of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, and Dan Hunter, Professor of Law at the New York Law School and Director of the Institute for Information Law and Policy. This is the first and only graduate-level course devoted solely to the concept of gamification.

FTW-logo02Werbach and Hunter, in cooperation with Wharton’s William and Phyllis Mack Center for Technological Innovation, this week hosted For the Win: The Serious Gamification Symposium at Wharton with the idea to integrate academics, public policy experts, practitioners, and entrepreneurs to stimulate research and identify best practices.

The duo also plans to publish an eBook next year through Wharton Digital Press. “We want to explain to business people how you design a game mechanic to fix a business problem”, said hunter in an interview with Knowledge@Wharton. “The generation of people coming into the workforce are not only going to take well to these techniques, but will also expect things will work this way” added Werbach.

It seems clear Werbach and Hunter have successfully brought gamification into the mainstream of management and business theory and education, and undoubtedly their research will grace many forthcoming issues of the G4H journal. Their vision was inspired by their own experiences using World of Warcraft interactively with their colleagues and experimenting with the ways to utilize a virtual environment to motivate users to strive toward a goal.