It’s always very refreshing to come across those using game design to its full potential. Today we will be taking a look at Pain Squad, an app that is restoring both faith in humanity and gamification.
Pain Squad – It’s not just an app
Recently I came across an iPhone App called Pain Squad. What you’ll understand after reading this article is that simply calling it an “app” is a disservice because it is so much more. It is an app that harnesses the power of gamification to provide hope and fun to sick children. It also amazingly provides pertinent information to allow doctors to conduct proper diagnosis.
Thousands of children each year are battling cancer and have to go through painful treatments to fight it. Doctors are having trouble determining proper treatments used to relieve the pain because the kids aren’t motivated to keep up with their pain journals. These are journals that provide information on where pain is occurring and the level of pain that the child is experiencing. Understandably of course, after chemo therapy many children are too tired to even pick up a pen. Data needs to be collected everyday in order for it to be accurate and ultimately useful. So they are recruited to the Pain Squad.
The Pain Squad is a special police task force put together to help “put pain in its place”. Using the simplicity of the iPhone touch screen interface, children are notified when it is time to record, can easily answer the necessary questions and record accurate pain levels daily as well as where the pain is occurring. These questions are entered in as “evidence” in the case against pain. The more times the children enter their evidence, the farther up the ranks they climb in the police force; from Rookie all the way up to Chief. But, Pain Squad took it one step further for the kids.
Engaged and motivated
A series of motivational videos were recorded of actors from Canada’s top police dramas Flashpoint and Rookie Blue. These videos are delivered to the children via the app after they have completed consistent reporting. This adds to the immersion and engagement of the program that I’m sure the children love.
According to Jennifer Stinson, a clinician-scientist at the Hospital for Sick Kids in Toronto and co-creator of Pain Squad, pain self-reporting compliance rates grew from 11% to 90% after the implementation of the app. The gamification gave the children more control, motivated them and engaged them.
Before pain squad there was a problem. Doctors couldn’t properly diagnose their patients because they didn’t have access to accurate data. Understandably the children weren’t motivated and in some case were unable to report. Pain squad used gamification to motivate a behavior. They needed the kids to accurately and consistency record their data so the doctors could properly treat their pain. They used game mechanics such as achievements which allowed the children to feel like they had accomplished something and were progressing, which they had and were. Then Pain Squad took the next step by adding feedback by way of motivational videos and messages from the actors. All leading to an almost 80% increase in compliance rates.
Now you see Pain Squad is much more than a simple app. It’s helping patients and doctors fight such a terrible experience. The use of gamification to help motivate these children to talk about their pain is much more than numbers, return on investment and adding fun to a process although in this case, it does get results. Pain Squad restores faith in humanity and gamification.
For more information about Pain Squad you can visit them here http://www.campaignpage.ca/sickkidsapp/ or follow them @PainSquad on twitter. You can also check out their video posted below.