One of the hot new terms in digital health tech is “gamification.” Facebook tugs on some primal psychological strings to keep users coming back over and over. Those same levers can be used to increase patient engagement and alter behavior patterns. We’ve started to see a flood of smartphone apps and user experience designs that incorporate cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques aimed at treating health and medical issues.

A special event will occur this summer that aims to bring more attention to the field of video games for health-related applications. The Healthcare Games Showdown is a competition for college students. The finalists will be announced on April 10, 2019 and they will then participate in a four-week, paid internship in July in Houston, Texas.

The students will be divided into six teams, charged with creating a video game or gamified app for a health or medical application. Teams will get advice from experienced video game professionals, along with input from medical mentors. At the end, potential employers will review the final results during a live-streamed event. The hope is that these students will also receive job offers from companies looking to develop such products.

The program is produced by Trans / Seven Studio and it will be hosted by the Texas Medical Center’s TMC Innovation Institute. This event could help make student programmers aware of the opportunities for their skills and interests in health and medical applications.