A recent study published in the American Journal of Medical Quality promotes gameplaying for nurses and health techs. The study argues that smartphone game apps can save potentially thousands of lives and billions of dollars annually. The dramatic outcomes occur by decreasing central line-associated bloodstream infections (CLABSIs). A central line is a catheter placed in a large vein in a patient’s neck, chest, or groin, typically while they are in a hospital. Because central lines are often in place for weeks or even months, infection risk is high without proper care at all times. CLABSIs currently cause thousands of preventable deaths and result in additional billions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Elemeno Health‘s HIPAA-compliant web service and coaching app use social strategies, gamification, smart checklists, and instructional videos to motivate and inform caregivers at the point of care. The games and other content encourage and support care staff to adopt and adhere to best practices with central line insertion and care. The hoped-for result is improved care consistency, quality, safety, and outcomes. In the published study, 105 nurses in high-risk pediatric units were given the Elemeno Health coaching platform. Compared to control units, the units in which the nurses used the app reported 48% fewer central line infections and 85% fewer Clostridium difficile infections (potentially fatal infections in the colon). The study attributed the significant improvements to engagement with the app’s games and competitions, and to better compliance with personal protective equipment protocols.

Using mobile apps to promote social and competitive engagement goes beyond typical monitoring and reporting functions. Elemeno’s coaching app also provides more than just task-specific information, as relevant as that content might be. By providing game-like engagement, the company also hopes to decrease medical professional burnout and turnover.