Notes from the Digital Health Symposium: Interactions, Games, and Incentives in Healthcare

Can we gamify healthcare? There are interesting ideas out there. Here are a few that were presented during the event.

Ron Gutman, Founder & CEO of healthTap, presented the main idea behind healthTap: “trustsourcing”. When it comes to the consumption of health-related information online, physicians are the missing piece, he said. healthTap offers a new way for physicians to engage online – with their patients and with each other. They can answer questions to better serve existing patients and attract new ones, and they can virtually “agree” with what colleagues wrote which will automatically “feed” into their own “virtual practice”. I consider the “agree” button the professional networking aspect of the tool. Patients and people looking for health-related information can access the trusted (evidence-based) information 24/7, from anywhere.

I’d be curious to learn how they are going to assess the impact of the tool, e.g. saving time and money, which in the long run will serve as key motivators for physicians in addition to getting recognition and  building reputation. Keep reading

Sutha Kamal, Co-Founder and the CEO of Massive Health, talked about leveraging feedback loops, visualizing data to change behavior, and the importance of nuanced goals. They’ll be rolling out early versions of their products over the next couple of months and are looking for feedback. Sign up for one of their first experiments at

Edwin Miller, VP Product Management at Practice Fusion, presented their free solution to transform the Electronic Health Record (EHR) System. According to Miller, 90% of doctors are still using paper charts.

Lindsay Volkmann, Director of Business Development at Keas, talked about how they are harnessing the power of play to encourage employees to get healthy.

Keas has combined gamification techniques with wellness incentives in an effort to get officemates battling one another to get healthier.

For about a year now, they have tested their social game. An average of 40% of the employees sign up and 70% of them stick with the program which resulted in significant behavior changes. Keep reading 

Ida Sim, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Co-Director of CTSI’s Biomedical Informatics at UCSF, added another important question to the mix: How can we create a “learning healthcare system”, described in “Open mHealth Architecture: An Engine for Health Care Innovation”, that allows an integrated user experience, analysis  and evaluation services, and secure data sharing. View Ida’s presentation

“A Learning Healthcare System that is designed to generate and apply the best evidence for the collaborative health care choices of each patient, and provider; to drive the process of discovery as a natural outgrowth of patient care.” – U.S. Institute of Medicine, Roundtable Charter

More information:

The event was co-sponsored by UCSF’s CTSI.