Playing Games with Clinical Research

 In Digital Transformation

For many, walking across a crowded room to introduce themselves can be a daunting task. There are so many factors that can influence the outcome of a friendly smile and an outstretched hand, but doing it right can create a relationship that can last a lifetime.  The art of a good introduction has been poured over by thousands of psychologists, each suggesting different ways to elicit the best outcome to the encounter.  Hundreds of books have been written, articles published and opinions shared on tailoring the interaction, however the basic guiding principles are almost exactly the same – be relatable to the person in front of you.  At Persistent Systems, we view Human-Centered Design as sacrosanct and creating interactions that resonate with users is paramount.  The first interaction will always set the tone for all future touchpoints, much like the old adage ‘you never get a second chance to make a first impression’.

A good litmus test of a successful first interaction also spills over from the physical to the digital world. Would that person you just introduced yourself to cross a room to say hello to you in the future – would they keep coming back, would they return for a second, third or fiftieth encounter?  For us and our clients, we measure this as continued interaction and returning participation.

In a recent project, we had the pleasure of working with a US based non-profit clinical research organization that focuses on improving public health. A core part of their research studies includes a broad-based recruitment of patients across their partner’s health systems, but the organization was facing a serious problem with low recruitment rates and even lower participation on their research programs.  We proposed a gamified patient onboarding system that would engage patients and make the recruitment process interesting and fun.

We deployed our digital platform, ‘Vega’, which has a rich offering of gamification APIs and engaging user experiences, developed under our flagship gamification platform eMee. By building off the foundation APIs offered by eMee, the Persistent team created and deployed immersive experiences for patient onboarding that gelled seamlessly with the existing ecosystem in less than three weeks.  A bespoke analytical dashboard was created to track patient engagement.  Through our mantra of ‘Continuous Transformation by Design’, we have been able to improve upon the platform, optimizing and honing the customer lifecycle through the platform.  The architecture of the system deployed is modular, making updates, alterations and additions quick and simple – ideal for integrations in future projects.

The results have been more than satisfactory; the transformative experience has led to a 195% increase in monthly registration of patients. Having set the tone of the conversation, Persistent has created an environment where thousands of patients are proactively crossing the proverbial room to continue the dialog, interacting on a daily and weekly basis to assist this non-profit to improve health systems across the country.  It all starts with a smile and a handshake.


  1. Vinita Navadgi, Digital Transformation Strategist
  2. Ben Judah, Marketing Strategist
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