Pokémon Go Lures Patients out of Bed and into Recovery

WHAT NEW PT EXERCISE involves world-building, quests, rewards and animal control? Pokémon Training.

When the mobile, augmented reality game Pokémon Go launched in July, the GPS-enabled app presented a hopeful incentive to lure gamers out of the house. Now, hospitals are using the app to get patients out of their rooms and onto a quicker recovery track.

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor introduced Pokémon Go to many of its young patients as a fun approach to exercise with a socially-driven culture. The children’s hospital has even identified landmarks to guide Pokémon trainers through its hallways and created the hashtag #PokeMott to build a community of patients trying to catch ‘em all.

Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center uses Pokémon Go to provide engaging physical therapy to its pediatric burn patients. Researchers say playing the game, which requires roaming around in search of new Pokémon, “helps mobilize patients and keep their infected areas in motion while also taking their minds off the pain, the way a good book or intense action movie might.”

Virtual reality has been integrated into therapy before, but with augmented reality readily available on patients’ smartphones, it will be exciting to see how this technology evolves.

Take care.