Texas Hospital’s mHealth Game Targets a Public Health Crisis

– A Texas health system is combing mHealth and gaming technology to teach the local Hispanic population about liver disease.

The Hospitals of Providence partnered with the El Paso Times and gamification software company OfferCraft to produce an online trivia game[1] that includes educational videos, links to a podcast and infographics on liver disease. Officals say the game has already been played more than 3,000 times on mobile phones, tablets and computers.

Hospital officials decided on a gaming strategy following a series of news stories earlier this year in the El Paso Times, which reported that more local Hispanics die each year from liver disease than from lung or breast cancer, and that the county’s death rate is twice as high as the state average for 2013.

“The hardest thing for a healthcare provider to accomplish is to motivate changes in behavior to get people to take a more active role in their own health,” Kurt Gross, Director of Marketing and Communications at The Hospitals of Providence, said in a press release. “That’s what this campaign is all about, and it has the potential to save lives. Liver disease is preventable, and it’s taking a disproportionate toll on people in our community. We hope to change that.”

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  • Healthcare providers have used online and interactive games to target specific populations, like teenagers, minorities or those with a specific health issue, like cancer, AIDS, diabetes or addiction control.

    The format has also been used by health systems to educate staff about topics like hygiene and sepsis[5]. For example, QStream, a startup launched out of Harvard Medical School, has developed a gaming platform[6] that’s used by medical device companies, pharma and health systems around the world to educate staff on the latest trends and protocols.

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