Serious Games in Healthcare

How can games help in the rehabilitation of young patients?

As a design intern at ILUMY, I am looking into serious games in healthcare. At the moment, this is a real hype in healthcare. But what are they? Serious games are games that do not have pure entertainment as their main purpose. A good example is ReMission, a game in which patients fight against cancer. This raises self-confidence in their rehabilitation and informs them about the disease itself.

For my graduation project, I chose to look at serious gaming in rehabilitation. In a hospital environment, next to physical problems, rehabilitation can bring social issues too. Especially for children, who can have a hard time losing contact with their family, classmates and friends. This younger generation is already using online communication, such as WhatsApp, Skype or social media, to stay in touch. Spending days, weeks or even months in bed, recovering from their diseases, many children find distraction in (online) gaming, too. This provides them with a sense of escape from their depressing situation and environment. I see an opportunity to combine communication with serious gaming.

So, the idea is to use a serious game as a driver for social interaction. I will be developing an iPhone or iPad app that will be used to create a digital world, shaped by the young patient and his/her environment. In this way, the child can feel the support of his family, classmates and friends in an imaginary world they build together. The result should be that the patient is bolstered by the emotional support and that his/her environment gets an idea of the situation the patient is in. I am already discussing these ideas with people in healthcare and young patients themselves. As the concept is getting clearer, I am very excited to make a prototype and to show and test it. An update will follow soon.

Sebastiaan Krijnen


David • Technology Director at ILUMY

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