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As a father of four children living in the digital age, I can truly appreciate the power of video games.  What few people appreciate or even realize is that there is a history of links between video games and healthcare

In fact, the Annual Games for Health Conference is now in its eighth year.  As an ongoing project of the Games for Health Project, the annual conference has become the nation’s largest symposium dedicated to videogames, health, and healthcare.   Worth checking out if you’re around Boston on June 12-14.

What I like about this particular conference is the bridge it creates between seemingly separate industries.  Gamers and healthcare professionals?  Absolutely.  Don’t believe me?  Then take a look at the article published in the fall of 2011 that shows how gamers solved a scientific problem relating to HIV here.

The Games for Health Conference brings together hundreds of researchers, health professionals, and game developers to discuss a wide range of topics involving health and videogames.

The initiative was founded in 2004 and is primarily supported by The Pioneer Portfolio of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.  Ever heard of that group?  Even if you haven’t – you should thank them.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing the United States.   They’ve gained a reputation as the largest philanthropic organization devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans.  Projects in the Pioneer Portfolio are future-oriented and look beyond conventional thinking to explore solutions at the cutting edge of health and healthcare.

It’s no wonder that this forward-thinking group is supporting  topics like exer-gaming, physical therapy, disease management, health behavior change, biofeedback, rehab, epidemiology, training, nutrition, and health education at the Conference.  This year the organizers are adding new material on sensors and gamification and sensorimotor rehab.

I’ve always been on the forefront of technology and have a soft spot for those that aim to incorporate hi-tech advancements into practical applications, especially when it comes to medicine and healthcare and the virtual worlds of health.  At DocuTAP, we always look ahead and let the latest in tech developments guide us in creating next generations of powerful solutions.

We strive to make our technology user friendly and on-par with the experience that is available in other areas.  Healthcare technology should be experience-centered, because we can’t forget that it’s about people.  People and the human experience is always the bottom line.

Game developers have a always had a good hang of this and I think we can all learn some lessons from them.  Here’s one of my favorites – game developer Jane McGonigal who gave a great talk for TED about her theory on harnessing gamer power to solve real-life problems:

She is not one of the speakers at Games for Health Conference, but you can take a look at who is here.

I won’t be attending this year, but I’ll catch up on videogames with my kids in our Sioux Falls home.

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