Michael Fergusson

Michael Fergusson

Ayogo Health Inc., Canada

Title: Empowering patients to improve adherence through mobile and social gaming


Michael is CEO and founder of Ayogo, and dedicated to the idea that playing is one of the most meaningful and productive things we can do. He’s been an entrepreneur and innovator on the Web for over 15 years, and his games have been played by millions, on computers and smartphones all over the world. Michael has spoken eloquently about how games can increase patient engagement and improve health outcomes the 3rd Patient Adherence & Advocacy Summit in February 2013, Health 2.0 in Berlin, Games for Health 2012 and 2013 in Boston and the 2012 mHealth Summit in Washington to name a few. He was also chosen as one of PharmaVoice’s 100 most inspiring people of 2012 and won Ernst and Young’s 2012 Pacific Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award for his work in health gamification.


Games are engagement engines that can help improve patient adherence, a $300 billion problem in the US. Playing is a voluntary attempt to solve a problem shaped by goals and rules, structured to provide effective feedback. We can empower the patient by harnessing basic game mechanics: Narrative: storytelling personalizes the experience Progressive mastery: gamemechanics motivate patients to achieve increasing difficult tasks in a rewarding and fun way Social: peertopeer interaction sustains engagement over time We can use these game mechanics to help people manage chronic endocrine problems, like diabetes. Monster Manor, our mobile game for families living with childhood diabetes, is an example of this. Monster Manor uses game play opportunities, points and achievements, and social rewards to help player's achieve new behavior goals; in this case testing blood glucose a minimum of 5 times a day, and reporting blood glucose in a mobile tracking tool. The game includes an virtual incentive management system which parents can reward their kids for any aspect of their selfcare. In addition to rewarding kids, parents are provided with insights, strategies and a tool to support their child's management efforts. Games provide a unique platform to educate, influence, motivate and empower patients to make healthy behavior changes. By harnessing the power of play, games are able to help improve patient adherence by empowering patients to take control of their treatment regimes.

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