You wouldn’t think there was any connection between a video game and the delivery of health care but the link between the two deals with the nature of humans themselves.

To digress, let me explain the game for the uninitiated few in this country.

Candy Crush Saga, developed by King Enterprises, surfaced in 2012 and became an instant hit.  Starting as a Facebook game that April, it was soon developed as an app.for smart devices and hit the market November of 2012.  It has 15 level episodes which now go beyond 500.  It is periodically updated adding new levels.

There are different colored candies, different obstacles and different rewards.  Each level has certain goals that must be completed in order to advance to the next level.

Candy Crush Saga

Candy Crush Saga
Candy Crush.png
App icon
Developer(s) King
Platform(s) Facebook(Adobe Flash), iOS,Android
Release date(s) Facebook:
April 12, 2012
November 14, 2012
December 14, 2012
Genre(s) Puzzle

Boosters to help achieve the level can be purchased through the game store or additional lives can be obtained by requests from friends on Facebook.  Every 30 minutes, a new life is generated.  Also at certain times, one must wait 24 hours before starting the next challenge.

As a friend, you can “donate” lives; getting more involved in the gaming of your pal than you may have liked. Purchases can also be made through money, Paypal, or through Facebook credits.

Within one year it has been estimated that $633,000 is brought on as earned revenue daily.  That’s more than half a million dollars each and every day!  Players have spent $790.1 million within the first half of 2014.  This past year King made 8 billion dollars from Candy Crush.  That’s billion with a B!  It has since become a publicly traded company.

Clearly, King Enterprises understands a bit of human nature.  What can we learn from this?

9 Things I have learned for healthcare delivery from Candy Crush

1) If a player wants to fulfill an objective- he/she can ask for more lives or tips on how to play.

Consider providing your patients with “tips of the day” or a newsletter with information regarding the medical conditions that you treat. Engage your patients on social media and answer questions that may be posed within a patient portal site. (FYI, to fulfill requirements of meaningful use, you must have a patient portal as part of your EHR system anyway)

Also consider offering patient advocate services as the liaison between you and the patient.

2) The game is constantly updating and changing to keep players interested and prevent them from ever reaching the end.

Healthcare and policies for its delivery is constantly evolving and in order to survive, cheap ventolin inhalers your practice must move with the times.  If you don’t change, patients will lose interest and move to other health facilities, or competing doctors. (and fines in the form of decreased reimbursements will be heading your way)

3) When the game was launched and every time there is a major change, there is a media blitz

As you offer new techniques, open new facilities, get new medical devices or have a change, consider having a press release.  Press releases are extremely effective in getting the word out over the internet and helps it spreads to the people you would like to reach.

4) There are rewards given when levels are achieved and obstacles are overcome.

Insurance companies have started offering premiums when certain goals are achieved and parameters are met as in control of blood pressure, glucose levels, exercise routines, smoking and alcohol cessation, etc.  Gamification in health has become quite popular because people like challenges and rewards.  People like playing games.

5) You must complete set obstacles before moving to the next level.

This applies to life as well.  Setting weight loss goals in small bites for example as opposed to the whole amount, makes it easier to achieve and the excitement of reaching that goal gives impetus to starting the next goal.

6) People would rather pay to complete a level than wait for the “lives” they would have been given anyway.

This aspect of human nature explains why medical concierge practice is becoming quite popular.  People want what they want, when they want it.  Why not give it to them?!

7) If the objective is not met, you must play the level over and over again until you do.

You can’t reach your health goals without achieving the little ones along the way.

8) “Tasty, Sweet, Divine or Delicious” are words that appear across the screen in bold, colorful print whenever you make a strategic move

Complement and inspire your patients often.  It will spur them on to reach the goals that the two of you have set. * and will make them more compliant or consistent with the medication regimen or lifestyle changes that you have agreed upon.

9) The game can be accessed across many different devices

Patients should be able to reach you across several channels to satisfy them, whether it is email, phone, or social media.

So when someone asks you if you play games, you can answer in the affirmative…for the game of life and healthcare!

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