What Inning Are We In?

Jun 3, 2010, 9:00 AM, Posted by

I was at the Games for Health meeting in Boston last week. This was the fourth year Pioneer has supported the meeting, which has come a long way since its inception.  When I first attended, most of the conversation I heard was an effort by gamers and health practitioners to each understand the other.  From one side, you heard questions that asked, essentially, “What makes a good game?” From the other side, you heard questions that asked, essentially, “Help me understand diseases, therapies, and how health care works. 

And from both sides, you heard, “When you say X, what exactly do you mean?”

The conversation this year was significantly different.  Instead of talking to each other, people were talking with each other, trying to figure out how to solve problems. Attendees were frequently working off a common language, though some are more fluent than others.

Given that much of the conversation has moved from discovery to collaboration, it has me wondering what’s needed now to move the field along?  The funding we provided under ourHealth Games Research national program focused on establishing efficacy and exploring game design principles.  Does the field need more of that?  Some of the ideas I heard at the Games for Health conference of what was needed now included research to demonstrate cost-effectiveness and the establishment of a journal devoted to the field of health games research.

Any opinions?

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.