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litesprite1Whether you’ve just racked up the highest score on Halo or finally finished off the last level of Final Fantasy, video games can certainly make people happy.

But can they go one step further and help people make changes to improve their health? Seattle-based Litesprite thinks so.

“Whether it is managing stress or their diabetes, people are more successful in making these changes when the process is entertaining and incorporates their social network,” Litesprite founder and CEO Swatee Surve said. “And currently there are very few effective tools. The gaming industry understands how to drive effective behavior change, so my team is exploring this intersection between healthcare and gaming.”

Litesprite CEO Swatee Surve.
Litesprite CEO Swatee Surve.

Litesprite was just announced today as one of five finalists for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Games to Generate Data Challenge. The RWJ Foundation is sponsoring a competition that encourages developers to design game applications to provide data that can help improve health care.

“This was a very competitive competition,” Surve said. “As you can imagine, the team is beside ourselves.”

Litesprite’s first-ever game, which the video previews above, helps people with anxiety and depression. As players make their way through the game, their progress can be tracked, rewarded and monitored by clinicians and caregivers to help them better understand what the patient is feeling. It’s designed to specifically help women aged 25-to-50.

Surve manages Litesprite with 11 other part-timers. She’s worked at places like Premera Blue Cross, T-Mobile, Microsoft, Nike and Eastman Kodak, mainly focusing on the intersection between medicine and technology. 

“Trained as a biomedical engineer, I have spent my life developing technologies that help people improve their health and fitness,” she said. “As a technologist, the biggest obstacle I have seen for people achieving their health goals is behavior change.”

With Litesprite, that’s exactly what she plans to do. The company is on track to develop several other games addressing a number of health conditions. 

Previously on GeekWire: Why Big Pharma should be scared of the gaming industry

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