Gamification of activities is a current hot topic and this article looks at how game-like elements may be added into mainstream service processes to provide greater engagement for both service employees and users. Here, two cases of different gamification-enabled healthcare services are analysed, based on interview and desk study, to examine the situation and its effectiveness.

It was an interesting read. I am myself sceptical to such activities, but I may not be the typical user demographic. Gamification can be viewed in many situations, such as leaving a review for an online restaurant where you get a ranking and for some collecting the next digital badge to become a ‘master reviewer’ or more is an incentive. For me it might just be a cause and effect. Different strokes for different folks.

The healthcare sector, which faces many challenges on economic and delivery grounds, was a good choice for study. It came forth that an element of gamification could help with treatment or rehabilitation, for example, if a certain level of activity is desired from the patient. The implementation and presentation of the gamified environment may be key, as what may appeal to a teenager can be different to a senior. Or not. Choice may be required in what would be giving a more-active role to patients with their care delivery.

The research methodology appeared pertinent and relevant, with limitations clearly stated concerning wider applicability (that may, or may not, be relevant). The research examined two sample cases, the integration of the Wii Fit technology in the physical re-education of patients and the use of a tablet computer to treat children. All in al,l six observational sessions and 38 interviews with staff and patients were held. Four research questions are formed to discover the motivation for patients and staff to use gamified healthcare services, the value that they may deliver, positive and negative outcomes and the factors that affect and effect engagement.

A detailed theoretical background is supported by the literature review that draws in much timely, relevant research. Some greater context could have been desirable at times rather than just mentioning a term and giving a citation. A small thing overall. Gathered data was coded and analysed before being classified into six categories for consideration and discussion.

It emerged that both groups appeared to see a benefit and effect in using gamified technologies in their specific circumstances. The purpose behind the use of gamification treatment may also have a relevance, at least with motivation and compliance. The data gathered was interesting and thought-provoking, leading to actionability and future research. Negative experiences also existed and caution was given to suggest that these may be provoked by inappropriate use of assistive technologies. There is not a one-size-fits-all, setup and forget solution, although it is possible that many problems may be ameliorated by supervision. Greater research, as identified by the stated limitations, could be beneficial.

This article has the potential to have wider impact outside of the healthcare sector too and deserves wider circulation and consideration.

Hammedi, W., Leclerq, T. and Van Riel, A.C., 2017. The use of gamification mechanics to increase employee and user engagement in participative healthcare services: a study of two cases. Journal of Service Management. DOI:10.1108/JOSM-04-2016-0116

A post-publication review of this article that appears on Publons.