Pharma and Gamification: motivating positive outcomes – a primer

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Publication Date:
August 2013
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Gamification is coming of age and Pharma companies need to understand how it can help all levels of their business.

When is a game not a game? When its gamification. Gamification is not about creating games. It is about taking people in directions you want them to go by engaging them and offering them rewards in points, badges or bonuses that signify achievements that are sufficiently meaningful for people to want to compete for them. At its heart gamification is about stakeholder engagement, influencing behaviour and improving outcomes– key goals for Pharma.

Gamification is growing rapidly across many business sectors. All the more surprising, Pharma has been slow to include it as a weapon in its marketing and sales arsenal. Anxieties about regulatory compliance play a role but, more widespread, is an underlying scepticism that gamification is essentially trivial and has no role to play in the serious business of pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Are many in the industry missing a trick?

Gamification is being applied across the healthcare spectrum: simulation training, patient adherence, clinician information, research and medical education. It is being applied by charities, health services and by some of the industries major players such as Boehringer Ingelheim, GSK and Janssen.

A key driver to the adoption and spread of gamification is the widespread use of mobile technology. Games need to be available at the point of need, and multi-channel availability including direct response as well as social media is key to ensuring high levels of usage and measurable feedback.

Which games work, and why? How do you go about developing a game? What is the experience of those already experienced in the field? The answers to these and many other questions can be found in this concise and comprehensive First Word report Pharma and Gamification: motivating positive outcomes – a primer.

Key Benefits

Using primary source insights from industry, healthcare and game developers as well as the latest published data and case studies, this essential report examines fully the current thinking on gamification and provides valuable pointers on how – and where – gamification can best be applied in the Pharma industry. This will help you to:

  • Understand how gamification enhances digital engagement with stakeholders
  • Gain insight into how and why other companies are deploying gamification applications
  • Know how gamification works
  • Think along more patient-centric lines
  • Know how gamification can influence product innovation
  • Understand how gamification can change clinician and patient behavior
  • Be ready for future developments


Pharma and Gamification: motivating positive outcomes – a primer answers key questions including:

  • How is the global gamification market evolving?
  • How are pioneering Pharma companies involved in gamification?
  • Why has Pharma been so resistant to gamification?
  • How are enterprise-driven, rather than consumer-driven, applications now leading the market?
  • Through case studies, how is gamification transforming medical and patient education?
  • How is gamification being applied in healthcare?
  • How is gamification improving sales force performance?

Selected Quotes

“The most important issue with gamification and serious games is the initial intent. Is the game intended to help people learn and change or is it intended to be fun? Most pharma games collapse at the first fence because they think the game is mostly about fun so learning objectives get ignored and the game is ultimately pointless. It ends up being neither fish nor fowl because they don't have the budget or knowledge to make a truly good 'fun' game so no objectives are achieved.” Andy Yeoman, Director, Focus Active Learning

“Evidence shows that gamification can significantly increase engagement and message recall. For brands trying to communicate complex messages about science and data, gamified marketing can be part of an effective, measurable campaign.” Buddy Scalera Senior VP, Ogilvy CommonHealth

“We’re trying to use gamification techniques, find different ways of incentivising and making the platform user friendly. It has to be seen to be integrated into daily life. So the design needs to be appealing, the feedback loops need to be meaningful and personalised. The most important point is that we deploy, learn, iterate, change and redeploy. It’s a continuous process. We will know what works and what doesn’t only if we try and test it on the consumers themselves.” Marco Mohwinkel, European head, Janssen Healthcare Innovation

“We would like to use gamification in the sense of making the use of platforms or apps fun because that’s one way to incentivise patients/consumers to participate when they can compete with others. They draw some of their motivation from that kind of engagement. But it needs to be more than just winning points; it needs to be something more sophisticated and the points should be transformed into education about type 2 diabetes for the user.” Wolfgang Renz, vice president, Boehringer Ingelheim

Expert Views

  • Marco Mohwinckel, European head, Janssen Healthcare Innovation
  • Andy Yeoman, director and co-founder, Focus Active Learning
  • Lyn McIntyre, deputy director of patient experience for NHS England (Midlands and East Region)
  • Johann Riedel, senior research fellow, University of Nottingham
  • Britney Conrad, director of curriculum and learning solutions, CMR Institute
  • Kieron Sparrowhawk, chairman, My Cognition

Expert Views

Gamification is coming of age and pharma companies need to understand how it can help all levels of business. In this report, you will discover:

  • The global gamification market and how it is evolving
  • Gamification’s value to pharma and how pioneering companies are employing it
  • Case studies of how gamification is transforming medical and patient education