12/29/2011 – WSJ, Timothy Hay
A group of technology start-ups is taking its cue from social gaming, in hopes of relieving companies, doctors and patients of some of the pain involved in managing health care.
The new businesses, staffed mainly by health-industry veterans, have adapted common social-gaming features to help companies motivate their employees to get fitter or to encourage doctors to keep in touch with their colleagues and patients online.
One of the start-ups, Keas Inc., whose clients include Pfizer Inc. and Novartis Inc., offers a gaming platform that allows groups of employees to compete with one another at exercising, eating healthily and taking better care of themselves.
San Francisco-based Keas originally aimed to offer consumers alerts, messaging and personalized information to help them lose weight and adopt healthier habits, but that plan didn’t work out.
“We tried to give people constant feedback about their health, but for a lot of people, more bad news and negative feedback just didn’t work,” said Adam Bosworth, the company’s chief technology officer. “If you keep giving someone negative feedback, they will eventually change the channel to the game channel. One day we decided to become that game channel.”