How small wins generate patient compliance and trust

There is nothing like having an illness like chronic Lyme disease for a patient (or client) to post a string of losses. Just spend some time in a few Facebook “support” groups.

Constant failure weakens the immune system and studying that mechanism gave birth to the field of psychoneuroimmunology. 

Let me introduce you to another term, gamification.

Gamification is the use of game design elements in non-game contexts, such as in healthcare, to engage and motivate individuals to achieve their goals. Several studies have explored the use of gamification in healthcare and its potential to promote healing and improve outcomes.

One study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (Kapp, 2012) found that gamification in the form of a mobile game app improved adherence to a physical therapy program among individuals with chronic musculoskeletal pain. 

Another study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (Peng et al., 2018) found that gamification in the form of a mobile app improved medication adherence among individuals with hypertension.

Gamification has been used in various health care fields, for example, in mental health the study published in Journal of Medical Internet Research (Oinas-Kukkonen and Harjumaa, 2009) found that gamification improved adherence to a self-management program among individuals with depression.

What these gamification programs all have in common is “small wins.”

Winning delivers a small hit of dopamine, the motivation neurotransmitter. Researchers found that even a small win at a trivial task can deliver enough dopamine to be clinically significant and change a patient’s mindset.

Studies have shown that a patient’s mindset has a significant impact on their ability to heal. For example, a study published in the journal Cancer (Breitbart et al., 2000) found that breast cancer patients with higher levels of hope had better physical and psychological outcomes compared to those with lower levels of hope. 

Small wins can be a lifeline to people with chronic Lyme. And that’s why small wins and gemination are a “ninja” skill that experienced practitioners deliberately deploy in their practices.

Take control of your patients’ care and be part of the solution. 

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Master Nutrition Therapist
Functional Genetic Counseling

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