#GFH12 Update: Health Games Research Database Adds Powerful Online Search Features

Jun 13, 2012, 11:15 PM, Posted by Debra Lieberman

Each year at the Games for Health Conference, I am excited to see how the field continues to grow. An important way our Robert Wood Johnson Foundation national program, Health Games Research, helps move the field forward is to ensure that our colleagues – game developers, health care providers, researchers, funding agencies, investors, policy-makers, parents, educators, and more – have access to the information and resources they need.

We are pleased to announce at this year’s conference that our Health Games Research online searchable database has been updated with new search and save features that make it easier to use and a more powerful search tool. The Health Games Research Database is the largest publicly available repository of information about health games, with extensive information about games, publications, resources, organizations, and events.

The database has received positive reviews. Adam Dole, business planning manager at the Mayo Clinic, has noted that the database is “my go-to source for cutting-edge clinical trials and related resources.” Dan Baden, MD, a public health expert who is a senior liaison at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “You have collected a wealth of information here that people have been wanting for a long time. It is easy to use and through the search mechanism I was able to find things I had no idea existed.”

With the database’s new features, users can search by keyword, category, or topic. The database extends each search by recommending related items that may be of interest. Furthermore, if users log in, they can save and retrieve their search results on “My Dashboard,” which provides access to items that are “New to You” since the last time they logged into the database, items they previously flagged as “Favorites,” and items in their “Saved Searches,” including their original search results plus new relevant content.

I encourage you to explore the Health Games Research Database on our website. Here’s a preview: a keyword search for “obesity” yields 22 games, 52 publications, and 18 organizations. The keyword “rehabilitation” yields seven games, 58 publications, and 21 organizations. Similarly, there are 12 games about “smoking cessation,” 21 about “autism,” 30 about “safety,” 82 about “nutrition,” and 117 about “fitness.”

We update the database continuously and we have a queue of items almost ready to upload. We welcome your input, so please add to the queue! If you know of a game, publication, resource, organization, or event that is related to health games and is not in the database, please submit it through the Recommendation Form. You can also use the same form to give feedback about the database, provide additional information about an item, or correct any inaccurate information.

The Health Games Research Database represents the dedicated work of our colleagues and students at University of California Santa Barbara. I especially want to thank the deputy director of Health Games Research, Erica Biely, who has been an outstanding and deeply committed database project manager, bringing her tremendous skills, ideas, creativity, and leadership to this project. Thank you, Erica!

Erica and I look forward to seeing colleagues at the Games for Health Conference June 12-14, 2012. I will give a talk about the research findings of several of our 21 Health Games Research grantees and another about research on games for managing chronic conditions. You can follow Health Games Research at @GamesResearch and see updates from the conference at #gfh12.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.