You are "Runner 5" set out on a mission to collect supplies and accomplish different objectives in a post-apocalyptic world... that involves the occasional zombie chase.
I think we all knew it would come to this one day. Zombies. Frankly, you can't say we haven't been warned. The CDC published the official Zombie Pandemic preparedness 101 guide in 2011.
We don't know much about zombies. For instance, why do they want to eat brains? In my omnivore days, I did love sautéed calf's brains on toast with lemon caper butter. Are zombies just misguided gourmands? Possibly. However,I for one, am considerably less sympathetic to being the host of their locally sourced human offal delights.
What's to be done? Sure you can stock up on shotguns, barricade yourself in the hollow shell of a run down building and go all Mad Max on anything that moves. Me? I'm more of the out run and out last sort.
Admittedly, that raises the question: Can I outrun the zombies?
That's the premise of Zombies, RUN!, a new smartphone app designed to help encourage cardio fitness. Users fire up their phones and an audio story unfolds that starts with you, Runner 5, being chased by zombies. Along your mission, audio queues prompt you to zig down one street, or zag down another to collect supplies like water or toilet paper. Run too slowly, or not far enough and the zombies get your brains.
I haven't been this excited about a health related app in a long time. What a brilliant innovation on the gameification of health and behavior - add an interactive, fantasy layer.
For years, I've heard techies and entrepreneurs propose games where people with chronic conditions give away their health maintenance data in exchange for points, badges or real world stuff. Post your blood glucose readings and win an xbox... I find ideas like those condescending at best, teetering on malicious.
This also ushers in an entirely new concept for video games - ones where you actually work. This isn't pushing buttons, swiping your finger on a screen or flicking the Wimote around. You actually have to run. How interactive is that?!
Will Zombies, RUN live up to my expectations? We'll have to wait until February 27th to find out. But you can count on one thing... I'll be out there with my running shoes on collecting supplies for those of us who survive the zombie apocalypse! (And, assuming this blog is still running, I'll report back what I think of the app).
The genesis of this idea came out of the Healthcare track of the C2C US/Russia Civil Summit that I participated in in June 2010. During a discussion around the use of social games, Dr. O Marion Burton had a lightbulb moment. He piped up with, "oh wow! how cool would it be to show off that I used a cheaper med and had better results!" I have been taken with the idea since that conversation. Since I am not a coder, here is my plea: someone help build this.Imagine a social site, a game of sorts, that rewards doctors and clinicians for improving outcomes, reducing costs and improving a patient's experience. Docs are a competitive lot, they worked hard to get where they are and that kind of drive doesn't end at graduation from medical school. "Dr. Smith just prescribed a less expensive alternative." Oh yeah? "Well, my patient just got out of the hospital a day under the national average length of stay." Can you see the peer pressure building?
Unfortunately this site doesn't exist...yet. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery right?
Have you checked out the Foursquare social network? It is a social game, you (or rather your GPS equipped mobile phone) tells Foursquare where you are and Foursquare tells your friends. If you are out on the town and want everyone to get together at your favorite watering hole, you log into Foursquare, update your location and blast a note to your friends.
The game part comes into play in two ways. First, if you check into a place multiple times you may become its "Mayor". Savvy restaurants and businesses are rewarding mayors. In early 2010, Starbucks began offering Mayors a $1 discount off Frappuchinos. The second part of the game are the badges. You get badges for anything from checking in after 3:00AM (School Night) to checking in near the water (On a Boat). Think of them like Girl or Boy Scout merit badges, only, well, internetier.
Back to our medical example
Patient care is not a game and to create a social site that does not trivialize it takes tact. However, there is nothing wrong with a little healthy competition. The Federal Government's CMS website offers good data on how one hospital stacks up against another; and it is fairly easy to read….if you work in healthcare and spend your time digesting these kinds of things. I am not convinced that the average consumer wants to suss out the percentage difference between two providers (although the site does a nice job of using plain language).
What I am suggesting - no - begging someone to build is a site that is relevant to both clinicians and the public. Think: Foursquare for doctors. Write a script for a generic med three times, get a badge. Have a better than average outcome, get a badge. Become the mayor of wherever you attend CME courses. Doctors could follow each other and would see what their peers are up to. When Dr. Jones writes a generic script three times, Dr. Smith might ask him which med it was, what the differences are, why Dr. Jones prefers it, etc. The professional interaction does not have to happen on the site. The site is simply a way for docs to encourage each other to improve care. Patients can follow along too. You could visit your doctor's page and see what badges they have. Looking for the best surgeon? Find the one with the "10 complication free surgeries" badge.
I'm not much of a coder and don't have an ability to produce great design (although I did the fancy syringe badge for this post, pretty good huh?). So please… someone build this!