Sunday, June 15, 2008

Humana Games: Helping You Play Your Way To A Better Health

Serious Games challenging us to play a better health


Via: BNET Business Network – Humana Engages Consumers Through New Games for Health Initiatives

While I was attending G4H 2008 at Baltimore Convention Center early May,
Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), announced it was launching the website Humana Games For Health (in beta) as part of its strategy to impact consumers positively through a new medium: Games for Health.

Due to my 30-day sabbatical, I’ve missed to blog about it. This post is a catch-up.
Quoting John Rice, from the outstanding Educational Games Research Blog, which discusses topics related to academic research and media commentary concerning the use of video games in K-20 settings:
“A bandwagon seems to be forming among health insurers concerning serious medical video games. Recall that CIGNA was one of the major forces behind the Re-mission effort, partnering with HopeLab’s Pamela Omidyar, wife of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. Now, it appears other major health insurance companies are poised to encourage development of video games that promote good health.
In particular, insurance leviathan Humana’s Integrated Consumer Experience Division is partnering with Digitalmill and Touchtown to develop and research health and exercise games. It appears from press coverage that students over at U. Southern California will do much of the coding. USC already has a strong relationship with DARPA surrounding military training games, and has deep roots in the Hollywood special effects crowd which is all computerized these days.

With both CIGNA and Humana now behind Serious Games in the health sector, look for increased development of products with low profit motivations, but high health ed expectations. Results will be measured in fitness rather than bucks. Hopefully some good research will come out of these efforts as well.”
The website has officially launched on the 8th of May in parallel with the fourth annual national Games for Health Conference in Baltimore.


The site serves as an interactive brochure and provides information on Humana's programs, mission and vision, as well as details on the health benefits of game technology. Users can explore a discoverable environment that highlights the many applications of games with healthy benefits. The site also includes instructions on how to contact Humana's Games for Health team to partner on future game development or to order games from the program.


The website features various examples on how schools, companies, senior care centers, hospitals and physiotherapy centers can use video games to improve people’s health

Humana is the industry sponsor of the Games for Health Conference, marking the first time a health insurer has sponsored the event. At the conference, Humana organized and participated in the keynote panel with other health insurers to assess games for health opportunities.

"If we want to make use of Games to the fullest extent as a medium to improve health and health behavior, we need to continue the interdisciplinary exchange and collaboration between the healthcare industry, research communities, game developers and other stakeholders," said Dr. Miguel Encarnacao, director of Emerging Technology Applications for Humana and architect of its Games for Health initiative.

Humana believes it can transform the game medium into a healthy part of consumers’ every-day life. “Right now, there are few high impact games directed towards consumer health.” remarkedDr. Miguel Encarnacao. “Our research will help us identify and develop game-based projects that will improve consumers’ health and captivate their imagination.


About Humana

Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nation's largest publicly traded health and supplemental benefits companies, with approximately 11.4 million medical members.

Humana is a full-service benefits solutions company, offering a wide array of health and supplementary benefit plans for employer groups, government programs and individuals.

Over its 47-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader in consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience throughout its diversified customer portfolio.