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Gamification: The Latest Fad in Life Sciences?

By  Erik Raper Erik Raper  on 2012-11-06 11:59:13  |  Featured in  Life Sciences
Erik Raper
Posted By Erik Raper
in Life Sciences
on 2012-11-06 11:59:13


Gamification is making it easier for users to digest new information in an interactive way, and it is especially useful in the medical industry. By leveraging game-oriented mechanics, thinking and dynamics into non-game applications, it facilitates learning and engagement in a more user-friendly, interactive way.

The days of trying to learn from dry, instructional text are gone as gamification uses technology to involve users—and it yields effective results. Not only does it present information; it gives users the ability to interact with the platform, quiz themselves on what they have discovered and connect with others to enhance the educational experience as a whole.

Gamification is so effective that it is taking up some space in marketing and professional development budgets, too. Businesses spent $100 million on gamification in 2010, and that is expected to hit $2.8 billion by 2016, according to Francis Moran & Associates, a technology marketing firm.

Using gamification in the life sciences arena

In the medical marketing space, gamification introduces new products, techniques, concepts and medicines. When a new medical device or drug goes on the market, gamification can make it easier for physicians and other health professionals to stay on top of the advancement and offer it to their patients. Previously, they would have to read seemingly endless text-based information and instructions the way you used textbooks when you were in school. Gamification provides educational information along with question-and-answer modules, animations, diagrams, and other appealing game elements to add a visual and collaborative aspect to learning.

In the early 2000s, gamification began to emerge in the marketplace, but now it is more widely adopted. Essentially, it drives further engagement to make education and engagement more effective. Gamification can also accommodate a user’s individual learning style to offer a customized experience. Gamification is also about delivering the appropriate targeted behavioral messaging to drive the desired behavior outcome to “play” more. It also has a competitive aspect to it—something that a lot of people enjoy.

Gamification offers education and incentives

I recently blogged about how Abbott Nutrition used gamification for their Resident Learning Center. The company offered incentives upon completion of educational modules in an effort to drive engagement.

For example, they offered apps and ebooks as additional resources for users that completed certain lessons. This enhanced the probability that users would complete additional modules. Future enhancements to the field as a whole could include a public setting to allow users to compete and message each other directly while engaged in the process.


Gamification is also a useful to liven up presentations. In quizzing the audience on material presented, it offers a more interactive approach to foster communication with the audience members and the presenter.

It can also be used to help scientists figure out solutions. When they can interact with graphic models, that can aid them in conducting research and interpreting data.

Getting back to the game of gamification

At its root, gamification is all about interaction and building interest, and Pfizer created its Back in Play game to boost knowledge of ankylosing spondylitis, a disease that causes inflammation in joints between spinal bones, the spine and pelvis. Boehringer Ingelheim created a Facebook game dubbed Syrum, which involves users to run pharmaceutical businesses. The objective of the game is to expand drug industry knowledge, enable the company to conduct market research and to improve disease awareness campaigns visibility and allow the company to conduct market research.

Another Boehringer campaign is the “1 mission 1 million” initiative, which strives to bolster awareness of stroke prevention and atrial fibrillation (Pradaxa was designed for those).

And gamification is not just for adults, either. Children can plug Bayer’s Didget blood glucose meter into the Nintendo DS handheld games system and play the Knock ‘Em Downs: Worlds Fair game, which inspires the pediatric patients to keep up with their testing schedule.

Integrating gamification into the life sciences industry

The methodology I have been working with helps clients understand their current educational platform and incorporate gamification into their marketing and educational environment.

In doing so, organizations can take advantage of this effective learning technique to advance their educational and marketing objectives. It seems like gamification is more than just a trend—nowadays, it is creating a new technique to customize education so it aligns with and individual’s learning style. On the whole, that makes learning even more effective and beneficial.

How has your company used gamification?

Erik Raper

Erik Raper

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Erik Raper heads Paragon’s Marketing and Advisory Services teams across focused industries. In this role, Mr. Raper leads his team to bring deep industry experience, rigorous analytical capabilities and a pragmatic mindset to clients’ most complex business problems. Mr. Raper’s team of marketing and strategy professionals work with Paragon’s Industry Leaders in the development of key go-to-market solutions which align to Paragon strengths and are essential to achieving clients’ business imperatives.

Before being appointed to his current position, Mr. Raper has served several key roles at Paragon including Director of Strategic Solutions Sales, Vice President of Strategy, and leader of Advisory Services. Mr. Raper guided the development of a suite of straight-through-processing (STP) solutions that focused on delivering business value–expanding Paragon’s Fortune 500 clientele and establishing the foundation for the firm’s brand platform: "Improving the Way Work Gets Done."

Prior to his appointment at Paragon in 2004, Mr. Raper spent seven years with Prudential Financial. As a vice president, he was instrumental in leading Prudential through a major operations and technology re-engineering in support of the company’s initial public offering. Preceding his employment with Prudential, he spent seven years with AT&T in various Marketing and Strategic Planning positions.

Mr. Raper holds a B.A. in Marketing from Columbus University, Metairie, Louisiana.

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