Healthy Game

It’s safe to assume everyone has heard the phrase “learning is fun” at some point in their lifetime. It is also safe to assume that most rolled their eyes or shrugged their shoulders in response.

Leave it to the Allegheny County Schools Health Insurance Consortium to find a way to truly make learning fun for its members. With assistance from Virginia-based, health-education-based consumer engagement company EdLogics, the consortium has introduced a game-based learning platform to improve health literacy for members in its 62 entities, including staff at the Community College of Allegheny County.

Anyone who receives benefits from the consortium can sign up at ACSHIC.edlogics.com/account/register to start playing, says Michael Swartzendruber, a member of the consortium’s board of trustees, as well as director of compensation, benefits and HRIS at CCAC. EdLogics gives members the chance to win gift cards by completing a number of computer-based health games designed to improve your health knowledge in a fun and engaging way.

“The goal is definitely to make people healthier, and this is a really fun way to do it,” Swartzendruber says. “I can tell you from my own experience that these games can become addicting, and they seem to ask the same questions in different ways so before long you’re able to retain the information.”

The early returns on using the game-based platform to educate members on health and wellness have been a success. Swartzendruber says more than 1,500 people played 31,000 games in September; and the program, which launched in August, is growing in popularity.

Employees who visit the EdLogics site and play a few games get their names entered into a random drawing every two weeks to win a $200 gift card to Target, the Home Depot or Amazon.

Ellen Hayes, a secretary at CCAC, says she isn’t much of a gamer in the PlayStation or Xbox sense but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming a daily visitor to the EdLogics site.

“I can tell you it certainly beats reading the information out of a book,” Hayes says. “There are a ton of games you can play. I think it’s a great way to learn.”

Hayes, who was one of the initial four winners of the gift card raffle, says she decided to give the website a chance after receiving an introductory email from the CCAC human resources department. The chance to win a gift card, along with educating herself on health and wellness, was all the incentive she needed.

“The games really do make you think about your diet and nutrition and how much exercise you are doing,” she says. “One game I was playing had a question about our eyes, and it made me think about the last time I was at the eye doctor and how maybe it’s time to schedule an appointment. I definitely think (EdLogics) is very beneficial.”

The EdLogics site is available 24 hours per day, and new questions are constantly being added. While only CCAC employees are eligible for the gift card drawings, their family members are welcome to visit the site and test their health and wellness knowledge, Swartzendruber says.

“We are excited to see (EdLogics) bring health and wellness to the forefront,” he says. “I can say it has improved my health knowledge. It’s a great tool to become healthier.”

This article was originally published in Community Health for Community College of Allegheny County.