Skip directly to search Skip directly to A to Z list Skip directly to navigation Skip directly to site content Skip directly to page options
CDC Home

HealthBound Policy Simulation Game
The term "HealthBound" is used courtesy of Associates & Wilson.

Get in the Game to Direct the U.S. Health System

Play the HealthBound game to discover the possibility of transforming our troubled U.S. health system. You have the tools to navigate trends toward greater levels of health, equity, and cost-effectiveness, if only you can discover how. 

Score as high as possible on four goals simultaneously. You must

  • Save lives
  • Improve well-being
  • Achieve health equity (between the advantaged and disadvantaged sub-groups)
  • Lower health care costs per capita

Start where the U.S. was around the year 2003, with all outcomes sitting in an undesirable “status quo” equilibrium. Identify the most powerful drivers of system behavior and use that knowledge to move toward a situation that is healthier, more equitable, and less costly. 

A cartoon graphic asking the question: How far can you move the system? It shows a separate flat lines for each of the following scorecard metrics: Unhealthy Days, Deaths, Health Inequity, and Health Care Costs. There are also four curved dotted lines departing from each of the flat lines at year 0, indicating the possibility to alter those trajectories over time. All of the dotted lines trend downward over 25 years, but some go up before going down.

Intervene by enacting one or more options from a list of national programs or policies. After a 5-year comparison period, you may intervene every five years over the next 25 years.

Chart Progress by reviewing results on the four scorecard variables—and dozens more. You can even compare different scenarios to examine where the leverage lies and how to weigh tradeoffs.

Learn the reasons for your results by studying the game’s causal pathways Adobe PDF file [PDF-99KB] and tracing through the reasons for your successes or failures. The goals are difficult to achieve, in part, because the game includes resource constraints, time delays, and side effects of intervention similar to those of the actual health system. Those complicating features must be understood in order to succeed.

Take Action in the real world by first testing and refining your ideas in this realistic, but simplified version of the U.S. health system. Play out popular proposals, explore new ideas, rule out ineffective strategies, and gather support for more promising scenarios. Discover what you can do to help steer a course toward a healthier, more equitable, and more prosperous future.  Then get in the game, for real!

NOTICE: This game is designed for training purposes only. It is intended to be used—with a trained facilitator—as a resource for multi-stakeholder visioning, strategy design, and leadership development. Simulated scenarios highlight health system dynamics, but cannot be interpreted as predictions for the future. The findings are those of the developers and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Top of Page


For problems or questions regarding this web, contact:

Contact Us:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    1600 Clifton Rd
    Atlanta, GA 30333
  • 800-CDC-INFO
    TTY: (888) 232-6348
    24 Hours/Every Day
  • The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention   1600 Clifton Rd. Atlanta, GA 30333, USA
800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) TTY: (888) 232-6348, 24 Hours/Every Day -

A-Z Index

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z
  27. #