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Posts Tagged ‘healthcare’

ACA and QRS – Shoot for the stars! Part 1

Last month I posted “ACA’s Quality Rating System – An opportunity to gain market share”, which explained how QHP issuers can gain market share in the individual space.  In that blog I mentioned that, as part of the Quality Rating System, plans offered on the Marketplace will receive a “Star” rating based on a 5 star rating system. Over the next few Shoot for the stars!posts, I would like to take a look at what this means from a health plan’s perspective.
As background, there are 43 measures that will need to be tracked. Out of the 43 measures, 31 are derived from data and 12 are derived from the survey. In addition, the draft QRS scoring specifications published by CMS organizes the 43 required measures into composites that roll up into eight domains. These domains are as follows:

  • Clinical Effectiveness
  • Patient Safety
  • Care Coordination
  • Prevention
  • Access
  • Doctor and Care
  • Efficiency and Affordability
  • Plan Services

The eight domains are then rolled up in to three summary indicators: 1) Clinical Quality Management; 2) Member Experience; and 3) Plan Efficiency, Affordability and Management. And of course, the final result is a star rating.

Read the rest of this post »

ACA’s Quality Rating System – An opportunity to gain market share

Starting in 2015 all issuers of Qualified Health Plans (QHPs) on the Healthcare Marketplace will need to provide Quality Rating System (QRS) measurements that will be aggregated and scored to provide consumers with a star rating for each product offered.

How many stars will you have?

How many stars will you have?

Although there are still details to be worked out by CMS, the required measures for the 2015 beta test are in place. All issuers that wish to continue providing QHPs on the Marketplace will need to provide the required measures. There are two different sets of measures included in the beta specifications.

The first is a set of clinical quality measurements that are mostly taken from the current NCQA HEDIS accreditation process. Many issuers already collect the data for these measures; especially, if they are meeting the requirement to be accredited for the Marketplace today and are using NCQA for that process.

The second is set of measures derived from an enrollee satisfaction survey (ESS) that needs to be performed by an accredited third party survey vendor. Most of the questions in the ESS are drawn from CAHPS. The survey processes requires that a sample of data is drawn, audited by a third party and provided to the survey vendor. The vendor then performs the survey and reports the results to CMS. Questions focus on rating an enrollee’s satisfaction with a plan over a six month period.

While the QRS initiative driven by the ACA attempts to provide transparency, it also creates a competitive market that will force issuers to look at ways to increase the quality of care and enrollee satisfaction to deliver better scores. The prize? For consumers, better products. For issuers, a larger share of the market.

Want to participate and win? Then you need a solution that not only provides the required measures, but also provides insight and the ability to drive quality improvements. This can be accomplished with a well thought out solution architecture that provides processes for delivering the measures and the means for analyzing data to drive improvements.

Health plans adapt toward customer-based business model

According to Forrester:

New regulations are driving changes through the US healthcare insurance industry. Care delivery and payment models bring new responsibilities and opportunities to impact healthcare quality and cost. This forces the businesses within this market to adopt customers-centric business practices.

“2014 Technology Imperatives For US Healthcare Insurers” by Skip Snow, April 11, 2014

sfdc_health1Many healthcare insurers are focusing on The US Department of Health and Human Services’ “National Quality Strategy (NSQ) for improvement”, which has three components:

  1. Better care – make care more reliable, accessible and safe
  2. More affordable care
  3. Better population health – “address behavioral, social, and environmental determinants of health”

In the Forrester report mentioned above, Snow acknowledges that health plans can best prepare to deliver on these three quality measures by implementing “a comprehensive digital strategy that combines core business capabilities with the digital channels that service these capabilities.” This includes call center, mobile, website and much more.

New levels of integration are required between Sales and Enrollment, Sales and Quoting, and more.

Health plans are now, more than ever, looking at their technology solutions to determine how to:

  • better engage with members
  • better engage with other stakeholders (Provider, Employer, Agencies, Brokers)
  • manage and monitor risk
  • connect disparate systems to manage the member experience more effectively
  • engage with members, particularly the new individual consumers

Next Tuesday, April 29th at 12:00 ET, we’re hosting a free webinar: “Learn How Health Plans are using Salesforce.com to Navigate a Rapidly Shifting Environment” during which time we’ll help answer those questions.

Join us! Register / More Info

10 Benefits of Enterprise Information Management in Healthcare

This month, we completed an interview with our healthcare analytics strategist, Juliette Silver. We wanted to understand how enterprise information management strategies can specifically optimize business performance, reduce costs, mitigate risks and improve quality of care.

From the interview, I take away at least 10 major benefits to establishing and leveraging an enterprise information management strategy in healthcare settings:

EIMAn EIM strategy can:

  1. Help manage access to enterprise information in a secure, HIPAA-compliant manner.
  2. Allow healthcare professionals to turn mountains of data into real-time decisions.
  3. Help focus people, process, policies, frameworks and foundational technologies toward how to best leverage enterprise data.
  4. Set forth the framework that will be used to provide the information delivery capability,whether the information is in the form of data (structured or unstructured) or unstructured content, or a combination of both.
  5. Help an organization respond to evolving regulatory requirements and reimbursement models.
  6. Define the information management model that will be used to harmonize the delivery of both content and data specific to a healthcare organization’s goals and objectives.
  7. Ensure the delivery of information in the form of a trustworthy source that can be interpreted, used and managed consistently across the enterprise.
  8. Give a clinician or healthcare knowledge worker the access they need to the many sources or types of information from which to make decisions.
  9. Ensure information is timely, accurate, valid, verified and generally fit for purpose.
  10. Produce a more holistic view of the patient, derived from structured data stored in an electronic health record and other clinical systems, as well as unstructured information or content made available in some of the forms previously stated.

Read the full interview here.

How ProHealth is Innovating Population Health Management Webinar

The process of effectively managing population health while consistently measuring and reporting its outcomes can be a challenge for healthcare providers.

How ProHealth Care is Innovating Population Health ManagementWe will be having a conversation with Christine Bessler, CIO and VP of Information Technology at ProHealth Care and Juliet Silver, Director of Healthcare Advisory Services at Perficient on Wednesday, March 26. We will be discussing some of these issues as well as how ProHealth Care was the first healthcare system to produce reports and data out of Epic’s Cogito data warehouse in a production environment.

During the session, Christine will be answering the following questions:

  • How did they deliver clinically integrated insights to 460 physicians
  • How access to analytics allows their physicians to easily see which patients need important health screenings or care interventions, setting the stage for enhanced preventive care and better management of chronic diseases.
  • How ProHealth Care’ developed their strategy to integrate data from Epic with information from other EMRs and data sources to deliver clinically integrated BI
  • How ProHealth Care is positioning itself to deliver against an advanced self-service BI capability in the future.

Juliet will share insight into the methodology applied to establish data governance as a discipline at ProHealth Care, and how the Business Intelligence Competency Center came to be.

Christine Bessler will answer these questions and more during our free webinar on March 26th at 1:00pm CT.

To register for the webinar click here.

 

Getting Scientific About Healthcare Social Media: Medicinal Sites

© elkor 2009The journey into the (officially scientific) exploration of healthcare social media would not be complete without a look into the realm of healthcare specific networking sites that I’ll playfully call “medicinal sites.”  These are closed sites that are aimed exclusively for those with either a certain designation or disease state.

In today’s lineup, we will explore two specific sites.  One of these sites is meant for physicians and the other is meant for patients.

Doximity

Although Doximity was not mentioned in the University of British of Columbia study that spawned this blog series, I am going to start here for good reason.  Although they are a relative newcomer to the space,  Doximity has experienced very strong growth.  Last year Doximity doubled their network to a total of 250,000 members, which is 25% of all physicians in the US.  What I find fascinating about Doximity is that it was started by the AMA.  It’s oftentimes the case that, in the David vs. Goliath world of social media, hip start ups are the ones that people want to follow.  The AMA now finds themselves in a situation where they have more users of their social network than they do actual members.

Doximity does a few things right.  It’s most popular features, beyond making upgrades that make the user interface more like Facebook or LinkedIn, include:

  • An API that enables “Facebook Connect” for easy authentication
  • A built in recruiting tool called Talent Finder
  • A continuing medical education (CME) platform
  • A “digital fax line” that allows physicians to receive their faxes (I know…don’t get me started) through their network via a personal fax number

PatientsLikeMe

PatientsLikeMe is a site where e-patients can collaborate with one another in a peer-to-peer supportive setting.  The site was launched in 2004 by the family members of an architect that contracted amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) at the age of 29.  They had originally raised millions, literally, in a failed attempt to find a cure for ALS.  They also created this patient social network to go along with that effort.

PatientsLikeMe now has over 200,000 members with groups for approximately 1,800 disease states. The most popular networks are neurological diseases such as ALS, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s, but there has been growth in members with HIV/AIDs and mood disorders like anxiety and depression.  Cancer, with its numerous subtypes, has been a more challenging group to tackle.  I have found that these subtypes often form their own online patient communities.  You can find a list of these on e-Patient Dave’s website, which I definitely recommend you visit if you want to learn more about how patients are using social in life altering ways.

One of the most incredible things about PatientsLikeMe is not as obvious.  Let’s consider a typical patient journey: we get sick, we go to the doctor, the doctor captures data during that visit including family history, bloodwork, scans, biopsies, etc.  Then there is the follow up appointment.  Perhaps a follow up call by a nurse.  But as I often say, that’s only 1% of the story.  It is the other 99% of the time when that patient is out there in the real world that matters a lot.  So, where do we get all of that data that takes place during the “meantime”.   PatientsLikeMe is often heralded as the producer of the most compelling clinical data the health care industry has ever seen for this reason.

As compelling as this data may be, it’s only a speck of sand on the beach.  There is far better data capture to be had by socially integrating patient and physician in a meaningful way.  This takes me back.  Way back.  To a post I actually wrote in 2011.  What I said then will be where I end here today:

“Patients are online.  Physicians are online.  However, these two groups are running in different social circles…this presents a true medical problem.”

Getting Scientific About Healthcare Social Media: Social Networks

shutterstock_126905108Thus far we have covered both blogs and microblogs as we walk through the official scientific study that was completed by the University of British Columbia on the uses of social media in medicine and healthcare.  Today we move into the wide world of social networks.  Ask ten people in the know to define what a social network actually is, and you will get as many answers.  The study provides a legitimate definition as follows:

Social networking sites are defined as Web-browser and smartphone accessible services that allow users to create social connections in a public or semi-public form (through the use of profiles) in order to share information updates with other site users.

Today we will focus on a current leader in social networks:

Facebook

Here are some fancy facts on some pretty neat uses of social networking sites in the practice of medicine and healthcare:

  • Researchers found that most common type of groups on Facebook were peer-to-peer networks centered on specific medical conditions These groups fall into four broad categories including:  1) fundraising, 2) awareness, 3) marketing, an 4) general support
  • Researchers often join these groups as a means of disseminating information.
  • With the good come the bad.  While there are plentiful examples of epatients using online patient communities to support one another through illness, there are also a select few that self-aggregate in “negative-behavior support groups”, which are typically focused on the promotion of alcohol consumption.
  • Here’s an idea I’d love to import.  In Taiwan a well-known emergency physician blogger created a public group on the topic of improving patient wait times in the ER. The group went viral in less than a month.  A majority of emergency department staff from around Taiwan joined the group and commented.  The group got so much attention that the Minister of Health and his staff joined the group and commented directly.  As a result, the minister began making visits to ERs in ten different cities with a promise to improve funding to reduce wait times in collaboration with the Taiwanese Bureau of National Health Insurance.

One of the great features of social networks like Facebook, which have yet to be used much in healthcare are third-party applications.  Here we integrate application programming interfaces (APIs) into Facebook.  This allows outside software and data to be visualized and tied directly to the social network.  Candy Crush is likely the most popular third-party application at this time if I had to wager.  We have a long way to go until health apps are actually helpful in Facebook.  In fact, less than 30% of listed applications in the health category are real.  The rest are spam.  Of the ones that do exist, many focus on weight loss, smoking cessation, fundraising, and health education on specific conditions.  From what I can tell those are dwindling.  In fact, of the three mentioned in the study, only one still exists.

  • Get Up and Move: (no longer exists) allows users to challenge their friends to engage in physical activity and report on it after they have completed it
  • START: (no longer exists) Brought to you by the American Heart Association, this app allows users to answer questionnaires on the topic of cardiovascular health and upload the data to a health portal
  • HealthSeeker: this is a diabetes app that provides health education and the ability to win points as an incentive

In an attempt to reach as many people as possible all at once, social networks are no longer the “up and coming” medium.  They are the “here and now”.  There are many ways that Facebook is being used in medicine and healthcare, and there are still much open opportunity.

 

Getting Scientific About Healthcare Social Media: Microblogs

hashtag3-ccIn this blog series, we are highlighting the social media categories presented in “Social Media: A Review and Tutorial of Applications in  Medicine and Health Care.”  This was a study conducted by the University of British Columbia, which offers an extensive digest of the vast uses of social in medicine and healthcare.  Today we’re going to talk about the emergence of Twitter as an important communication medium in this industry.

The study correctly titles Twitter as a “microblog.”  With microblogs, we take many of the same concepts found in my previous post about blogging, namely community and collaboration, and we widdle them down to 140 characters or less.  Twitter is that place where communities of people that are interested in a similar topic, be that interoperability or Oscar night, digest a lot of information quickly together.  I rely on Twitter heavily to keep me up to date on everything related to #hitsm (health it), #hcsm (healthcare social media), #mhealth (mobile health) and #connectedhealth (I’m sure you’ve got that one without need of assistance).

The study gets extra points for classifying three broad categories of tweeting styles:

  • Substantive Tweets: a tweet that is independently understandable (e.g.,  title of a paper or blog, a brief comment, and a link to the publication)
  • Conversational Tweets: fragments of a new or ongoing conversation that draw on professional or personal interests or comment on current events. (e.g., there is no greater example of this than the Twitter discussion at HIMSS (#HIMSS14)
  • Hybrid Tweets: substantive and conversational at the same time (e.g., “let’s discuss patient engagement tonight at Sidewinder Coffee”)

According to the study, there have been over 140 documented uses of Twitter.  I’ve not met the person that is actually documenting these uses, but some favorite examples include:

  • The Pennsylvania State College of Medicine has used Twitter to augment peer-to-peer and instructor-to-student learning by stimulating topic discussions, providing feedback on critical thinking, conducting course evaluations, disseminating writing prompts, soliciting class responses, and monitoring student progress.
  • A junior doctor and a medical student started a Twitter Journal Club that functions in the same manner as traditional journal clubs, except that the means for discussion is Twitter. By using a combination of blog posts, where the paper and discussion questions are posted in advance, along with the hashtag #TwitJC, students, doctors, and anyone interested in the subject can engage and interact in a meaningful way.
  • Live tweeting surgeries and medical procedures.  Henry Ford Medical Center was the first to live tweet a surgery back in 2009.  Swedish Medical Center in Seattle has used this tactic very successfully.  One notable example was an overnight tweet up they did on sleep disorders.  Those impacted by sleep problems were able to watch what happens during a sleep study.

As mentioned above, the use of Twitter at conferences is powerful. Not the least of these examples is taking place this week in Orlando at the HIMSS conference.  At these conferences, Twitter is used to enhance learning through real-time interaction.  See for yourself by following the #HIMSS14 thread.

Getting Scientific about Healthcare Social Media: Blogs

Blog

Earlier this month, I happened upon an actual scientific study of the use of social media in medicine and healthcare conducted by researchers at the University of British Columbia.  The study was fraught with terms such as “positivistic epistemologies” and “critical-interpretivist theory” to add the requisite ambiance one finds in such studies. All kidding aside, I did find the study to be a great singular digest for how healthcare is using social.  However, while the study provided a good written history on each facet of social media, it did not go as far as to provide advice on the most effective uses of social.  This is where I’ll step in.

In this series, I will share some interesting tidbits found within the study for each category.  I’ll also highlight recommendations for the correct tactical use of these mediums.  We start with:

Blogs

The study defines blogs as “communal websites where opinions on any number of topics are voiced to create communal, collaborative dialogues.”  I really love this definition because it relies heavily on the terms “community” and “collaboration.” The general direction of this definition towards the “we” and away from the “me” points us to one of the main mistakes healthcare bloggers tend to make, which we will discuss further below.

As mentioned in the study, these are the most common hospital uses of blogs:

  1. advertise facilities
  2. share positive patient experiences
  3. feature well-known physicians who treat celebrities
  4. disseminate disease-specific information for patient education

If I had it my way, tactic #1 would largely go away, and 2 and 3 would be used with great precision.  Since blogs are about communities and collaboration, there is very little room for those that wish to crow about themselves endlessly.  Treating a blog like a media room, where press releases are repurposed for web, is not the way to go.  A person or organization should generally not talk about themselves in first person (or third person for that matter).  Instead it is about disseminating information that your intended community would find useful.  For healthcare organizations, one of my favorite topics is preventative medicine, which highlights all of the small things patients can do to make a big difference in their overall health.

There are only a few instances where healthcare organizations have been “self focused” successfully.  This is typically done through sharing positive patient experiences.  Yet, again, the organization is not talking about themselves.  They are sharing the journey a patient has had through illness or wellness and sharing that with others that may find this information helpful.  As a result, I feel that sharing patient experiences is very much in line with disseminating healthcare information to an interested community.   Here are two of my favorites:

Henry Ford: Gail’s Video Blog

There have been a few healthcare organizations that have been successful at recruiting patient guest bloggers.  Henry Ford’s blog for their Bariatric Center is one of my favorites.  On this blog, Gail records her bariatric surgery journey over the course of a few months.  Blogs like this are great because there is no sharper lens for viewing the true patient experience than through the eyes of the patients themselves.

Mayo Clinic’s Piano Foyer Video

This one was quite a viral social media accident (as most things that go viral in social media are).  An orchestra had performed within the Mayo Clinic atrium, but weren’t scheduled to retrieve the piano until a day or two later.  Enter Fran and Marlow Cowan, who were visiting Mayo Clinic as patients from Ohio.  There they found this grand piano sitting by its lonesome and decided to do something about it.  Jodi Hume, another guest seated in the atrium at the time, found the pair so entertaining that she recorded them and uploaded that video to YouTube.

To date the video has been viewed almost 10 million times, and Mayo Clinic’s name is right there in the title for all to see.  Mayo Clinic has since asked the couple to return for a second performance, which can be viewed here:

Any questions on blogging?  I’d be happy to answer them in the comments section below.

Trends to Watch in the Healthcare World in 2014

What’s transforming the ways in which healthcare is provided?

  • legislation
  • new competition
  • innovative incentives
  • a call to refocus on priorities
  • a more empowered and digitally engaged consumer, who has more and greater expectations for quality of care and convenience of care.
  • a renewed attention on healthcare by the consumer market thanks to ongoing press about healthcare.gov and the Affordable Care Act
  • new services and business models in healthcare that we’d never seen before recent reform

Susan DeVore, Premier healthcare alliance…and much more.

Susan DeVore, CEO of our partner and client Premier healthcare alliance, wrote a post yesterday fro HealthAffairs.gov titled, “The Changing Health Care World: Trends To Watch In 2014.” In the article, she introduces the new trends she expects to see in healthcare this year. We are also seeing each of these trends impact conversations about investments our clients need to make this year and next year.

I have summarized the trends below.

1. Investments in Chronic Care -

  • Chronic conditions increase costs by 3X, so, “The biggest health care consumers are those with multiple chronic conditions.”
  • We should see more investments in Ambulatory ICUs and patient-centered medical homes as providers work to improve their shared savings payments and better manage chronic conditions within primary care facilities.

2. New Job Roles in Healthcare

  • DeVore has seen an increase in the popularity of hiring “health coaches” who are there to listen, inspire and motivate and spend time getting to know the patient’s family and life situation as it affects their ability to both access care and to care for themselves.

3. Home Health Care

  • Back to the days of the house call.
  • “Marketing firm BCC Research predicts that the market for remote monitoring and telemedicine applications will double from $11.6 billion in 2011 to about $27.3 billion in 2016.”
  • Technology is increasing access and convenience of healthcare from outside the traditional care setting, especially for rural, hard-to-access locations.

Read the rest of this post »

Healthcare CIOs are carefully moving to the cloud

Recently our company has increased our focus on what healthcare organizations are looking for when it comes to cloud computing, in large part due to our acquisition last year of two fantastic Salesforce partners (ClearTask and CoreMatrix). I found this article in Healthcare Informatics to be very interesting. It’s titled “The Many Flavors of the Cloud” and includes interviews with some key CIOs regarding how they view private vs. public cloud solutions and the sensitivity – and often the mandated security requirements – around health data when stored in the cloud.

There are some obvious advantages to providers moving to private cloud storage for all types of data across the organization, but also some critical considerations for any CIO or CMIO. Here are the key takeaways I got from this article.

MedicalImaging_AndroidTabletApp

Medical imaging takes up a lot of storage space in the healthcare space. Imagine a 24 hour study of your heart that takes up a terabyte of space. The cloud can enable better scale for this type of need.

Key insights about cloud computing in healthcare:

  • CIOs interviewed prefer “private cloud” solutions over public cloud solutions like those of Google, Amazon and Microsoft – more control around access & rules
  • CIOs don’t want to deal with power issues, cooling issues, and capitalizing hardware over time – 3 reasons they enjoy Cloud
  • They enjoy reduced costs in scaling a storage room, servers, etc..
  • CIOs take personal ownership over creating their own stringent security requirements for their cloud vendor, making them feel better about storing PHI or other sensitive healthcare data in it.

Read the rest of this post »

Healthcare Gamification: Avoiding Chocolate Covered Broccoli

UntitledLast week, at IBM Connect, I met an individual with the coolest title in all Profession Land: Global Lead for Serious Games.

Her name is Phaedra Boinodiris, and after sitting in on her Birds of a Feather chat, along with a post chat dinner filled with good eats and new friends, I wanted to open up the conversation a bit for all to grow and learn from the gaming knowledge stored in this firecracker of a talent.

I’ll start you off with some stats Phaedra shared:

  • Average age of a gamer:  34
  • Games designed for women: 43% of PC games and 33% in general
  • Households that play video games multiple times per week: 67%

Today your average gamer is not just some young guy locked in his mother’s basement.  Your average gamers include employees, analysts, mothers, and business professionals named Phaedra and Melody.  As Phaedra pointed out, the first game advertising, for Atari, was aimed at the whole family.  Then there was a massive shift that aimed advertising exclusively towards boys.  However, once Nintendo Wii came out you started to see advertisements for the whole family again.

Healthcare at Play

Games are great at explaining complex systems.  There are fewer places one can find complex systems than in the micro and macro worlds of healthcare.  In healthcare we’ve seen games of multiple types.  Here are some great ones:

  1. Games that help modify user behavior: Phaedra pointed out Humana’s pioneer stance in the world of serious games in healthcare with their Horsepower Challenge.  Using the craze the followed games like Dance, Dance, Revolution, Humana used “exergaming” in 2009 to challenge 20 members of Congress and 2,000 5th and 6th graders nationwide as they “raced” across the country by taking steps with a pedometer.  She also harkened back to a healthcare game I mentioned in a post back in 2011, namely Re-Mission.  In Re-Mission, a nanobot named Roxxi is injected into the human body to fight particular types of cancer at the cellular level. Those playing the game are also asked to monitor the patient’s health and report any symptoms to the fictional Dr. West.  Each level of the game informs the player on a variety of treatments and on the importance of staying compliant with medical protocol.  HopeLab trial studies, that were published in peer-reviewed journals, revealed that playing Re-Mission led to more consistent treatment adherence, faster rate of increase in cancer knowledge, and faster rate of increase in self-efficacy. Most notably are blood test results, that showed the measured level of chemotherapy drugs in blood to be higher in players versus the control group.
  2. Clinical learning labs: These are the types of gaming environments where practitioners can train in virtual learning labs on an avatar.  A great one is foldit: Solving Puzzles for Science.  foldit, funded through a University of Washington grant, is an attempt by game developers to crowdsource scientific research.  Within a few paragraphs of texts, the gamer is educated on what proteins and amino acids are and why their shapes, and what those shapes fold into, are important.  The goal is to have human “protein folders” work on proteins that do not have a known structure.  Scientists can then take folding strategies that human players have come up with while playing the game and automate those strategies to make protein-predicting software that can fight HIV and cancer more effective.  Beyond protein prediction, protein design has even more direct implications to disable a virus.  Thus far there are not many automated approaches to protein design, so foldit’s human folders are a great source of research.

This is all gamification, right?

Gamification is the term we use to describe serious games that go beyond strictly trying to entertain.  They have a “higher purpose”, so to speak.  Designers use game techniques to get players to do something not game-like at all.  The possibilities in healthcare, as shown above, are truly limitless.  However, this has brought us an industry that is absolutely flooded with games.  However, as Phaedra points out, they are crippled by one false assumption created within the foundation of many of these games.  That is:

A gamified experience includes scores, leaderboards, and badge systems.

Let’s be clear.  Games can include scores, leaderboards, and badge systems.  However, not everything that includes scores, leaderboards, and badge systems can be called a game (at least not an effective one).  Instead, they are often just Chocolate Covered Broccoli.  A user will try it out, realize this is not what they ordered, and spit it back out again.

If you want to develop a serious game that works, you must, better than anyone else, understand the purpose of your game.  You must know to whom your game is targeted.  You must devote a lot of time to figuring out what motivates your intended audience.  That understanding must be crystal clear before you even consider how the game should be designed.  Document, in detail, what your experience needs to communicate with the gamer.  What kinds of puzzles best match this experience? Then consider what type of game genre matches these puzzles.  Lastly, consider what platform would need to be used to help the gamer bring action to play.

Building a game that is based on what motivates your audience is what makes a serious game a game.  Otherwise, all you have is Chocolate Colored Broccoli.

If you are interested in gaming, a source you can check out is Phaedra’s new book “Serious Games for Business: Using Gamification to Fully Engage Consumers, Employees and Partners”, which includes contributions by another great mind I met at IBM Connect, namely Peter Fingar.