As the games for health field expands, we're seeing that the features of computer and video games—advanced graphics, stunning realism, immersive interactivity, structured challenges— offer unique solutions to a variety of health and health care challenges. Whether it's teens managing a chronic disease, stroke victims in physical rehabilitation, individuals looking to be more active and manage their weight, public health officials planning for potential disease outbreaks, or nurses and doctors seeking to hone their skills, game-based solutions may challenge, motivate and engage users in a way that no other medium can.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation—which supports ideas on the cutting edge to stimulate and advance breakthrough change in health and health care—has been working to apply the creativity, talent, and innovation of the games industry to health and health care since 2003.
Games for Health
Through the Games for Health project, RWJF has supported a range of convening and field-building efforts that have forged significant new connections between the worlds of games and health. For the past several years, Games for Health has held national and regional conferences to bring together game designers and developers, researchers, medical professionals, educators, entrepreneurs, policy-makers, and others to share information about games technology and its application to health. The project also catalogs the use of games in health, assists current game development, spreads best practices, shares research results, and explores new game concepts that might improve health and health care.
Health Games Research
In January 2008, the RWJF launched Health Games Research: Advancing Effectiveness of Interactive Games for Health, a national program that supports research to enhance the quality and impact of computer and video games that are used to improve health. The goal of the program is to advance the innovation, design and effectiveness of health games and game technologies so that they help people improve their health-related behaviors and, as a result, achieve significantly better health outcomes.