Game Changer

Brigham psychiatrists help develop mobile medical game for opioid addiction.

Medical gaming is an example of new and innovative ways to support patients struggling with addiction. (Photo by Creative Commons/Max Pixel)

Intrigued by the potential of using medical gaming as a therapy tool, two psychiatry leaders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital are helping develop a mobile medical game specifically geared for patients dealing with opioid addiction.

Working with healthcare gaming startup Tilak Healthcare, David Silbersweig, MD, and Joji Suzuki, MD, are providing their expertise in neuropsychiatry and opioid addiction to inform how the game can be responsive to patients’ state of mind, particularly when they are at risk of relapse and experiencing cravings. The goal is to reduce the need for costly and time-consuming treatment and expand non-pharmacologic options.

Once developed, the game will undergo rigorous testing and clinical trials. With FDA approval, the game would be prescribed by physicians and played by patients, with information from the game-play transmitting confidentially in real time to the physician.

“As always, our focus is on the care and well-being of patients who are struggling with addiction,” says Silbersweig. “We need to continue to seek new and innovative ways to support them.”