gamificationA recent story about Reflexion Health’s Virtual Exercise Rehabilitation Assistant (VERA) points to the continuing progress that is being made in moving medical care out of the hospital and into the home.

That trend has been underway for some time, and I think it will accelerate in the years ahead. With the continuing pressure on reducing costs, health care providers are hoping that technology enabling fewer in-person hospital, clinic and doctor visits will provide one means of doing that.

What I find interesting about this story is the change in focus from when the VERA system received FDA clearance back in November of 2015. An article from that time talks about the system as a video game that coaches users on the correct way to perform rehabilitation exercises. In the most recent article, Reflexion is deliberate in emphasizing that the system is not a game, but an approach based on medical rigor: “We at Reflexion Health think rehabilitation is serious medicine. If you look at VERA versus other products, we have not gamified that. VERA offers specific clinician instructions and measures and compares patient data against a prescribed exercise protocol… We take a pretty strict medical approach to this as opposed to pretending it is a game.”

That is significant. Gamification was perceived as a way to encourage compliance. Apparently, allowing the system to be promoted as a game was a detriment that Reflexion is now taking care to disassociate itself from. If you are thinking about ways to gamify therapy, you might want to think twice.