As pressure increases on employers and health insurance companies to bring down costs by improving plan participants’ health, insurance companies are developing virtual reality games and inter-organizational competition with real rewards. As employees hit health goals and milestones in gaming portals that can range from basic health tracking and rewards to more social, team based competition applications, health care providers and insurance companies offer rewards. The rewards can range from small denomination gift cards to a much bigger prize like a vacation upon reaching the participant’s desired wellness goals.
Gamification of health and wellness programs aims to target the social nature of people, and the current application of social media. Health care providers are looking to tap into the same kind of addictive social gaming as apps like Farmville. Allowing participants to be social while working towards wellness goals makes them feel a part of a greater mission and they can affect not just themselves, but their teammates and colleagues.