Is Microsoft's XBox fueling the growth of gamification in healthcare? An exploration into the possibilities of XBox becoming healthcare's gamification platform of choice.
Video games might offer health benefits if used in the right way, as Allied Health World has described. Gaming can help children learn in the classroom, help build and maintain muscle memory, fight against some of the effects of aging, and distract from pain and depression. With the next generation of Xbox console and Kinect device, it seems that Microsoft may be opening the door to a new territory: health monitoring.
A video on YouTube shows a man having his heart rate monitored by the Xbox through the Kinect. Being able to measure heart rate is important in studying the health of an individual, but heart rate monitors are not ubiquitous. The availability of the Xbox might even help to alleviate this problem and confront other health challenges as well. The many fitness games for Kinect include Just Dance, Zumba Fitness Rush, UFC Personal Trainer, and Nike + Kinect Training. These games allow individuals to work out at home, and some calculate the amount of calories burned in the course of playing.
Electronic health records are making their way into hospitals and physicians’ practices, which potentially allows easier sharing of a person’s medical records. Doctors can share test results or opinions, no matter the distance, and share options with patients more quickly. Patients themselves can access their information over the Internet, which might prompt them to take a more active role in tracking their own health.
What if the Xbox could be used to help supplement these health records? What if the measurements taken during game play were then uploaded to the Internet, or to a personal health folder with other information? How much closer would people feel to taking control of their own health?