New York, NY—Last month at the National Hemophilia Foundation’s 69th Annual Meeting in Chicago, Pfizer piggybacked on the tremendously successful Minecraft gaming platform to engage hemophilia patients in a whole new way. The company targeted HEMOCRAFT at adolescents and teens living with the rare disease. It uses gamification to “teach kids the importance of staying prepared and sticking to their treatment plan.”

By partnering with both the Entrepreneurial Game Studio at Drexel University and members of the hemophilia community, Pfizer developed an informative and engaging game that 8-16 year old patients will actually want to play. As kids explore the lo-res world, they can engage and learn from characters that are experts on their disease, including Doctor Dad, Nurse Punnyworth and Martin, a seasoned veteran in the fight.

Pfizer launched the game alongside its HemMobile Striiv Wearable, a first-of-its-kind wrist-worn device that helps patients track their activity, heart rate, infusions and symptoms. “These new digital innovations can be integrated into everyday routines to help empower people with hemophilia to learn about and track different aspects relevant to their disease so that they can have informed conversations with their health care providers,” said Dr. Kevin W. Williams, Pfizer’s CMO of Rare Disease. “Ongoing innovation, coupled with our research, and support programs, continue to allow Pfizer to positively impact patients’ lives and pioneer a new era in hemophilia—today, and in the future.”

These new tools have been welcomed in the fight against this rare disease. The National Hemophilia Foundation’s Senior Director of Education stated that “We are excited to see fun and educational tools that help people with a bleeding disorder, but equally as important, their friends and family to better understand the concept of factor levels in being able to stay active, and stay in the game.”

Why This Matters—

Healthcare apps have been quite a mixed bag over the years. Countless brands have tried their hand at building fun digital experiences for patients and providers, but often they’ve struggled to build a truly fun game and an actively engaged base of users. To avoid some of the classic pitfalls that have challenged others, Pfizer built its offering directly onto a thriving platform where their target audience already played. HEMOCRAFT is designed to feel less like an educational app and more like a learning adventure in a world kids already love.

Additionally, the approach gives parents, caregivers and HCPs an opportunity to learn more about the challenges these kids face and find new ways to engage them in their disease. By finding the right platform and approach, the Pfizer team has cracked the code to engaging patients in a new way.

About the Author:

Drew Beck has spent his entire career in healthcare — from direct patient care as an EMT in college to countless roles in pharma sales and global marketing for leading life science companies including Eli Lilly & Co. and GlaxoSmithKline. He is currently a leader on the Syneos Health Insights & Innovation team, a group charged with leveraging deep expertise in virtual collaboration, behavioral science, trends-based-innovation, custom research and global marketing insights.