Gamified ADHD tests can skew your patient’s results

July 9, 2024| Ryan Martin | ADHD News

It’s incredibly important when measuring ADHD that the test is in no way fun or engaging – which is known gamification. While it can be helpful for some tools and interventions to be gamified to improve mental wellbeing and reduce symptoms of some conditions, in the realm of ADHD diagnosis and treatment monitoring this is not the case.

What does gamification mean in ADHD testing?

Gamification involves game-like elements which can significantly affect your patient’s performance on the test. It increases engagement and the chances of your patient masking their true ADHD symptoms, which is exactly what we don’t want to do when measuring ADHD accurately. 

Accurate measurement of attention and impulse control is one of the most important considerations for proper diagnosis and treatment planning. Yet, your patients might perform better in a gamified setting which could result in under or misdiagnosis. 

Challenges of gamified ADHD tests

1. Unreliable measurements

To capture a true insight into your patient’s attention and impulse control, the test you’re using needs to be reliable and have clinical utility. When tests are gamified, the added entertainment value can skew their natural response patterns, giving results that don’t accurately reflect their typical behavior and experiences. 

ADHD tests are intentionally boring for this reason. Research by Alqithami (2021) found that attention can be trained to overcome deficits in the short term by leading to better focus through game-based environments.

2. Variation in responses, making the process unstandardized

People respond to games in different ways. Some may find gamification distracting or overly stimulating, while others might become overly focused. This variability can result in data that does not accurately reflect your patient’s cognitive functions and ultimately create a different experience for each patient, making the diagnostic process non-standardized. 

3. Issues with measuring treatment effects

Gamification of ADHD tests is an additional concern when measuring and managing the effects of treatment. Due to the risk of inaccuracy in gamified ADHD testing, you might over or underestimate how it’s working, and alter doses when it isn’t necessary and impact their quality of life. 

Our Clinical Advisor Ryan Martin commented: “I hear from providers all the time ‘Mom says he plays video games all the time, so this test won’t work on him’. This would be true for tests that are designed and completed like video games – involving tasks and rewards as it creates a feedback loop that helps the individual better regulate their ADHD symptoms.

“QbTest is intentionally designed with no feedback, so it is entirely on the individual to keep themselves engaged with the assessment, allowing their ADHD symptoms to be unchecked by a game like environment, meaning that they occur more naturally as they do in the patient’s everyday life.”

Our ADHD tests aren’t gamified

QbTest and QbTest Telehealth, powered by QbCheck don’t have elements of gamification but are instead designed to measure attention and impulsivity accurately with motion tracking. To find out more about how our standardized technology can help your service and aid in diagnosing patients with greater confidence, complete the form below and we’ll get back to you in a couple of days.

Complete the form below to speak to our expert team about integrating our ADHD tests into your service

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