The inaugural Games4Health Challenge came to a successful conclusion recently, with student teams walking away with $25,000 in cash prizes for their efforts to introduce new interactive health technologies – defined as any technology that improves overall health, and does so in an interactive and engaging way.
The competition was a joint effort of the U’s Health Science Center for Medical Innovation, the Entertainment Arts & Engineering program and the Sorenson Center for Discovery and Innovation at the David Eccles School of Business. The Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, S.J. Quinney College of Law and Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute were also partners for the competition.
Games4Health is a year-long design competition aimed at bridging the gap between medicine, entertainment, technology and education, based on the idea that interactivity in health care can positively affect a patient’s outlook. The teams involved were tasked with developing a game that is both entertaining and engaging – while also achieving some health benefit and improving a patient’s quality of life.
MBA student Jonathan Deesing spent the year helping organize the competition, and he considers the experience one of the highlights of his education.
“Games4Health was an amazing opportunity for me to play in the digital health-care arena and learn from the best in the business,” Deesing said. “I can’t imagine a better home for Games4Health. The University of Utah offers a unique set of top-ranked programs in business, gaming and medicine that allowed this competition to thrive.”
Students from a variety of fields – including medical, nursing, health, pharmacy, physical therapy, psychology, nutrition, bioengineering and others – participated in the first year of Games4Health.
“Nothing like this exists anywhere,” said Christopher Wasden, director of the Sorenson Center for Discovery and Innovation at the David Eccles School of Business. “This competition will help make the U and the state a global leader in the emerging field of therapeutic video games.”
Games4Health 2014 winners
Navitas – Best Working Prototype and IHC Most Innovative Game
UHealth Patient Education – AT&T Most Usable Game
EMDResource – Optum Most Impactful Game
Giga Pat – People’s Choice and Industry Choice
Push Me Fitness App – Best Game Concept