While mobile applications play a large role on our website because of their medical applicability, it cannot be denied that we also use them to play games during downtime.
What resident or healthcare professional does not have a few games (e.g. Angry Birds, Temple Run) downloaded?
One game genre that I enjoy, based off of earlier Flash based browser games, is focused on destroying the world by causing disease. These puzzle simulation games are based on the idea of creating the ideal infectious disease that would doom humanity.
This ranges from a mild bacterial infection, full on Ebola-like viruses to finally…. zombies! Interestingly, these browser-based games have migrated to mobile devices, and have become quite popular.
Recently, I came across an article from Toucharcade and Polygon that touched on the fact that one of these games, Plague Inc., was gaining interest by the CDC. The CDC invited James Vaughan, the developer of Plague Inc., to come speak on the success of his game and its possible implication to public health awareness.
This is a great step. As I mentioned earlier in my gamification for health article, those that want to make a successful game app for public health education on medical diseases, need to team up with game developers.
For a good example of collaboration, read my interview with Jennifer Stinson (developer of Pain Squad). These individuals are very familiar with designing and running mobile applications, and understand game mechanics that will be very favorable by users. We as health care professionals may play games and understand medical issues, but that alone does not mean we will make a great combination of the two. Having these two sides of the coin working together, though, may produce great things.
I encourage other institutions (especially academic institutions with medical and technological programs) to collaborate with game developers to create apps with gamification features. Hopefully, we will hear some great things from this collaboration by the CDC and will see some new products come out. These would be available for the whole patient population as well as healthcare professionals.