Could an “educational slot machine” improve diabetes care in hospitals?

Dr. Bradley Eilerman

Dr. Bradley Eilerman

An endocrinologist has a fresh twist on gamification in health education: give nurses the chance to win time off by answering questions about in-patient diabetes care.
Dr. Bradley Eilerman said that educating nurses improves the health of everyone in the hospital and helps them hold doctors accountable.

“Insulin orders are frequently questioned in the hospital,” he said. “Nurses are sometimes uncomfortable giving insulin doses.”

His Winservice app uses the principle of random variable reward to improve the understanding of diabetes care. Every time a nurse answered a question right, she would get a random award, such as a minute of PTO.

“There would be a progressive element, so sometimes it would be 5 minutes or 30 minutes,” he said. “Maybe once a quarter some would win a week.”

Eilerman said that the PTO awarded in the program would be equal to or less than time spent in continuing education classes that healthcare systems are already offering.

Eilerman won $1,000 for his “educational slot machine” idea at the Innov8 for Health Idea Expo Friday in Cincinnati at the GE Aviation Center. The three other winners were:

  • Health Minute App – a game that encourages people with sedentary jobs to get up and walk every hour
  • The Winning Hand – a device that helps people with mental and physical disabilities play card games
  • Reach Your Feet – This device is like a shoe horn for socks. The inventor created it when his wife was pregnant with twins.