MHealth Games as Rewards: Incentive or Distraction?

Kevin Gary, Arizona State University
Ryan Stoll, Arizona State University
Pooja Rallabhandi, Arizona State University
Mandar Patwardhan, Arizona State University
Derek Hamel, Arizona State University
Ashish Amresh, Arizona State University
Armando Pina, Arizona State University
Kevin Cleary, Children;'s National Health System
Zenaide Quezado, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Amresh was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University when this paper was published.


Games may be employed for delivery of a clinical protocol, or as an incentive for protocol tasks. We focus on serious games in mHealth apps for pediatric patients with a chronic disease as an incentive for behavior modification. A patient is rewarded with enhanced gameplay in proportion to her/his compliance with a clinical protocol. The game-as-reward prevents fatigue and sustains patient engagement as the mHealth apps are used on a frequent basis when the affliction is a chronic disease. However, our experience shows a fine line between games that encourage engagement and ones that distract patients from protocol tasks.