Who are Australia’s biggest gamers? Perhaps 18-25 year old men, or teenage boys?

According to Nick Bowditch, Founder of The Mentoring Club, and the only Australian to have worked for both Twitter and Facebook, our nation’s biggest gamers are mothers!

Although somewhat surprising, an IGEA Digital Australia report released in 2014 revealed 81 per cent of mothers play video games, mostly on their PCs and mobile phones.

The report also cited the average age of Australian video gamers is 32 years of age, 91 per cent of whom report games to be mentally stimulating.

So what does gaming have to do with health + wellness?

Professor Stuart Smith from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland suggests “social gaming” could be applied to different health scenarios, such as stroke rehabilitation, and improvement in social and cognitive function in people living with severe autism.

Social gaming allows people who play video games to communicate, either through texting or messaging services, calling, or video communication.

Teaming with an eight-year-old autism patient from Maitland, NSW, Prof Smith is working to develop a technology designed to help the child develop social skills through social gaming that he can apply to real-life situations.

“You could actually build up a skill set in kids like this, who have trouble interacting socially, over time, through gameplay,” Prof Smith said.

“It’s actually a powerful tool that we can use to help people.”

Prof Smith is not the only researcher who forsees a future for healthcare gaming. Norway-based scientist, Dr Frank Lindseth, isdeveloping gaming apps to assist healthcare professionals (HCPs) in their roles.

Dr Lindseth has developed a soon-to-be-released gaming app to help HCPs interpret ultrasound images.

“The threshold for the use of ultrasound is steadily being lowered, and more and more people need to learn to interpret what they see on the images,” said Dr Lindseth.

“For this reason, it is important to expose them to a wide range of ultrasound images.”

The future of healthcare could involve many different gaming styles and platforms, and opens up an exciting and unique range of learning experiences, ePatient platforms and much more.

Watch this space for further digital advances set to shape the future of healthcare.