The following is an excerpt Participatory Health: Online and Mobile Tools Help Chronically Ill Manage Their Care report written by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, M.A., M.H.S.A, THINK-Health for the California HealthCare Foundation
Health Video Games
Adults are a fast-growing segment of the video game market, with more than half of U.S. adults playing these games, and about one in five playing every day or almost everyday. More than four out of five U.S. adults ages 18 to 29 are video gamers, although only one in four people ages 65 and older uses video games at all. There is growing evidence of the clinical effectiveness of health e-games.
Clinical trials funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and others are gathering data on the efficacy of health e-games for managing health conditions including cancer, asthma, diabetes, and cystic fibrosis, among others. The Robert Wood Johnson Pioneer Portfolio’s Health Games Research project tracks these developments.
One of the first clinical trials testing the effectiveness of health video games involved Packy & Marlon, an interactive adventure video game that uses experiential learning to improve self-management of diabetic children and adolescents. Keeping their game character’s blood glucose within the normal range, through appropriate insulin and food, helps players win the game. This six-month study indicated that a well-designed action-adventure video game can significantly improve health learning, skill development, and behavior change. (continue reading…)