It sounds counterproductive, encouraging employees to sit at a computer to improve their health. But many US organizations are doing just that, implementing online gaming to track and reward employees for participating in wellness activities.
The theory is that pitching employees against one another digitally, via online leader boards, peer pressure, digital rewards along with real-world prizes, can motivate people to improve their overall health.
The trend appears to be catching on. A survey released by Towers Watson this year found 9% of employers expect to use online games in their health programs by the end of 2012, while 60% say their health initiatives for employee will include online games by the end of 2013.
But not everyone is enthused. Some researchers say there is a lack of evidence to support the model and sometimes the competition can get out of hand particularly when there are large rewards at stake.
Online gaming initiatives:
AOL has a wellness program that allows employees to track their progress online tracking and increases competition and engagement via online message boards.
Mindbloom, an online product from US insurer Aetna, encourages members to track their health. Participants add a leaf to a digital tree every time they perform task that contribute to their health, like drinking water.
Rallyon, a company dedicated to wellness solutions through online gaming, offers a gaming platform for wellness program deliver which includes avatars, online scoring and digital rewards.
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