Gamification has the Potential to Improve Patient Engagement and Adherence in Physical Therapy


  • Justin Evans TTUHSC El Paso
  • Joshua Salisbury Texas Tech University Health Science Center, El Paso, TX
  • Shali Schulz Texas Tech University Health Science Center, El Paso, TX
  • Christopher Bacak Texas Tech University Health Science Center, El Paso, TX
  • Alexis Sandler Texas Tech University Health Science Center, El Paso, TX
  • Nata Parnes 2Carthage Area Hospital, Carthage, NY, and Claxton Hepburn Medical Center, Ogdensburg, NY
  • John Scanaliato Rush University Hospital, Chicago IL
  • Benjamin Childs The Randolph Institute, Palm Beach FL



Orthopaedic surgery, post-op management, gamification, Physical therapy


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to systematically investigate the primary outcomes of gamified physical therapy among orthopaedic surgery patients based on currently published literature.

Main outcome measurements: Any objective measures of functional improvement, participation or engagement.

Results: Search resulted in 419 articles regarding “gamification physical therapy orthopaedics,” of which 14 included measurement of gamification success. Post hoc analysis was completed on the 9 articles which included control groups showing no significant difference compared to standard physical therapy protocols.

Conclusion: There is no significant evidence found within the current literature to suggest that gamification has the potential to improve patient outcomes in physical therapy for orthopaedic patients when compared to conventional therapy. While some studies found and reported improved results among patients in a gamification cohort, the majority lacked any significant difference between the comparison groups. Additionally, a post hoc analysis did not support the argument that gamification may be as good as conventional therapy. However, it may still offer a viable alternative to conventional therapy in situations where an alternative is needed, or in situations of patient preference. Finally, due to the limited research comparing gamification to traditional therapy, further research is necessary to determine its optimal use and limitations.

Level of Evidence: Level IV, Systematic Review

Key Words: Orthopaedic surgery, post-op management, Gamification, Physical therapy

(J Ortho Business 2023: Volume 3, Issue 4)


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How to Cite

Evans, J., Salisbury, J., Schulz, S., Bacak, C., Sandler, A., Parnes, N., Scanaliato, J., & Childs, B. (2023). Gamification has the Potential to Improve Patient Engagement and Adherence in Physical Therapy. Journal of Orthopaedic Business, 3(4), 41–45.

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