Saturday, April 26, 2014

Empirically Driven Consumer Engagement: The Power is in the Simplicity!

Necessity breeds solutions. mHealth Games, is a perfect example of how creative efforts to solve a problem can generate powerful solutions that work. Picture perfect innovation. Cost effective tools developed by and for those on the front lines. Disruption of the greatest kind.

In August of 2013, I was given an opportunity to design and implement an ICD-10 training program for a large managed care organization in Miami. This is not as easy as it may sound. Most coders, including myself, have been doing it for so long that we think in code. The idea of having to retrain our brains as well as our providers was almost an unimaginable task. Knowing this I quickly realized the one variable that would ensure success was the ability to create content that would engage everyone. But how?

This particular organization spanned 4 states and 3 time zones. Efficiency was critical. The ability to monitor and measure the amount of engagement on a daily or hourly basis would provide the intelligence that I needed to modify, adjust and improve the content. I knew what I needed to succeed, but could I execute?

Creative content is what activates consumers to engage over and over. It is what keeps them coming back. I am not an IT person. I have no technical training at all, other than that which was required to graduate. How was I going to pull this off? I could hire a company who specializes in IT or even e-learning, but would that accomplish my goal? No, although experts in their field, they lacked the experiences of a coder, and that was what I knew I could capture my audience with.

So we started experimenting with tools to engage. The first one took over two weeks. I took the top 200 ICD-9 codes and mapped them backwards and forwards to the corresponding ICD-10-CM codes. I added specific conventions to each mapping and added tips for clinical documentation. I thought I had knocked it out of the park. I sent the final project out and waited for feedback. I kept waiting and waiting, until I finally realized that even as great as the tool was, it wasn’t applicable to what we were doing today.

So, I came up with a better idea and requested the top 20 codes from each of their providers. With this new information I was able to create a personalized training program for each provider. Surely, they would be interested in learning about the codes they use on daily basis and how to mitigate any impact to their revenue. But again, I was wrong. This still wasn’t able to truly engage at the level I needed to succeed.

At this point, I was desperate for a better way and turned to Google to research alternative methods. I spent at least 200 hours reading about technology and how it is being used in distance education. What I found was amazing! Really smart people had created amazing tools that would allow me to work with technology. That was a defining moment! A change in paradigm had occurred. I was no longer dependent upon others to close the gap between what I wanted to create and what I was capable of creating.

This is where the fun begins. I had found the tools and now it was time to really start creating engagement. Had I of known the complexity of trying to learn new software, design games and teach ICD-10 -  I may not have taken the challenge. This is actually much harder than it sounds, but the results were well worth the time, talent and energy!

The learning curve was steep and fast. I can not tell you how many times I considered quitting, but then I would look at the results and I knew this had the potential to change everything! Why? Because these games are not just games. They are published using the xAPI or “experience API”. This means that we now are able to learn as much about our learners as they are learning from us!

Consider, the power of one game and the insight of data it could provide. The traditional tracking methods of pass/fail have now been replaced by the ability to visualize when a learner has both interacted with the concepts and mastered them. Thus creating an individual path to success!

These are the tools of the future! They create the foundation for the new learning health care system, but most of all they provide high value at little cost. We already know that games activate consumer engagement, but the time to market and cost of production complicated the process and reduced the return on investment.

Over the last few weeks, I have spent hours upon hours discussing the potential impact on consumer engagement and the potential value of taking mHealth Games to the next level. I have listened to stakeholders from every end of the ecosystem describe their version of how, why, and what this expansion could look like. Opportunities that I never thought possible have been discussed with people who can actually make them happen. But what if we choose to grow organically, where we continue to have to the freedom to create, deliver, modify and improve? After all we have just begun.

The single greatest take-away from this week was how every conversation of “growth” had the same plan, “By partnering with us, we will be able to bring in engineers and you won’t have to design games anymore!” But doesn’t that defeat the entire purpose of this journey?

Kameron Gifford
mHealth Games

Video games of to adapt to players' mood

Video games of to adapt to players' mood
San Francisco, April 26 (IANS/EFE) A team of engineers at Stanford University has developed a hand-held controller that allows video games to adapt to a player's level of engagement.
For instance, if a player's heart rate, blood flow, rate of breath and other physiological signals show he or she is bored with an unchallenging game, the controller can gather that information from the individual's hands and increase the level of difficulty.
When players are engaged, their heart rate and breathing generally become faster, Gregory Kovacs, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford and head of the laboratory where the prototype controller was developed in collaboration with Texas Instruments, told EFE.
The engineers removed the back panel from an Xbox 360 controller and replaced it with a 3-D printed plastic module equipped with sensors that measure gamers' blood pressure, heart rate, temperature and breathing rate and depth.
Users' arms and hands transmit signals that indicate what is happening internally, the professor told EFE.
Created in Kovacs' laboratory under the leadership of doctoral candidate Corey McCall, the controller has sparked the interest of several companies in the video game and entertainment industry.
This non-invasive system for measuring autonomic nervous system activity has numerous applications beyond the world of gaming, Kovacs said, noting that it could be used to prevent traffic accidents.
Sleepy drivers continue to be a major cause of car crashes, he said, adding that many lives could be saved by using sensors on the steering wheel to monitor motorists' level of alertness.

How IT is Driving Changes in Community-Based Healthcare


By John DeGaspari