About me

I'm Alfonso Aguarón and I welcome you to my blog. Inspired by my own diagnosis of a Hodgkin's Lymphoma in 2008 I decided to get involved in patient advocacy.
A few years later, I keep commited to my desire of help and support patients. There's still a lot to do so, do we look for change in healthcare together? Let's go!

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Ready to play

I have always loved games. Well, who doesn’t? Since I was a child I liked playing all kind of games. I used to played Cluedo, Risk, Scrabble and Mastermind with my friends and my family. Also I was crazy about video games. My parents gave away my brother Álvaro a Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k in 1986 and I sneaked into his room to play when he was not using it. My friends and I played for hours during our childhood and adolescence… and well, also a little when we become adults. My mother used to quarrel me. “You spent so many hours playing”. And probably she was right. After all, I was playing games for fun and I wasted my time instead of making more “productive things”. But, what if gaming could be used to make “productive things”?

Commonly, a game has always been perceived as a way to produce amusement. But, if we look beyond that truism, a game can be defined as a set of challenges that we have to overcome to achieve some goals. And, what the heck games have to do with health? Well, in fact it does.

When a patient is diagnosed a disease faces many challenges: to deal with the symptoms, to cope with treatment side effects, to understand treatments, to improve the quality of life, and I could go on. To process all this information might be overwhelming for some patients or difficult to understand. Getting the proper information is a key to handle better your own disease. However, some patients could feel strained and then simply gave up and put all those issues in the hands of others.

At this point, games can be, and in fact they are, a good tool to reach those patients. Ben Sawyer, co-founder of Games for Health Project, says that games “allow you to add specific tracks of content alongside some of our traditional talks on health behavior change, disease management, epidemiology or HCPs training”. That’s it! We have a great opportunity to cover all kind of topic of a wide range of diseases. And thanks to the “democratisation” of games (specially the electronic ones), we can reach all age ranges. This is not child’s play anymore!

I have added some links to videos below illustrating a wide range of possibilities.

These are some examples of games, but I’m pretty sure you might know more. So please, feel free to share them at the comments. Finally I recommend you to have a look at the Games for Health Europe conference to be held in the 27th & 28th of October in Utrecht. It could be a great opportunity to know the last updates. Until then, I want to have a quick game so… Ready to play?


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