June 24, 2020By Lance Baily

Serious Play Conference Showcases Power of Serious Games in Medical Simulation Education

This week the Serious Play Conference went virtual and showcased over 35 presentations from academic, business, and designer experts around the world specifically on the topic of Serious Gaming — with plenty of sessions dedicated to medical simulation. Due to COVID-19, the annual in-person event had to go online, but that didn’t stop the organization run by Sue Bohle from putting on a terrific event! Here we highlight some of the key sessions relevant to us in the clinical simulation field.

How Games Work Well for Healthcare Training
Richard Van Eck, Univ. of North Dakota & Scott Brewster, Triad Interactive Media

It is widely accepted that games have a role to play in promoting health, but why and how do they do this for individual patients and populations as a whole? In this session, representatives from the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Triad Interactive Media presented two case studies of federally-funded games developed through public-private partnerships. Project RAHI was designed to teach the public about radon. Approximately 21,000 Americans die needlessly each year from lung cancer due to exposure to radon in their homes (EPA, 2003). This is the largest cause of lung cancer after smoking and twice the number who die from drunk driving.


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Yet despite thousands of public education campaigns, those under the age of 30 do not know what radon is (Vogeltanz-Holm & Schwartz, 2018). Project RAHI relied on agency and evidence-centered design to teach key principles of radon exposure, testing, and remediation in less than 30 minutes of gameplay. As part of a larger HRSA-funded project, a game is being designed to educate physicians about the short and long term costs and benefits of gerontology principles of patient care. Gerontological interventions that begin with patients in their 50s produce dramatic increases in patient health and equally dramatic decreases in health care costs over decades, but these lessons are hard to learn under todays patient care models. The presenters articulated the key steps and principles used in the design and development of these two games to illustrate how games can solve health problems where other interventions fail.

Let’s Get Better at Blending Technology and High-Quality Instruction
Mari Strand Cary & Lina Shanley from University of Oregon

Mari and Lina shared the story of our organization’s work toward scaling evidence-based elementary math instruction through the development, deployment and efficacy testing of three technology-delivered programs. KinderTEK, NumberShire, and Precision Mathematics each have a unique student audience, approach to instruction, and development process, yet all were developed with federal funding, were driven by research and needs of classrooms, and culminated in rigorous studies of student learning. What was clear from the start (and is still true today) is that the university research enterprise (including research designs and methodologies, funding mechanisms, and researchers themselves) is not perfectly-suited for rapid, yet rigorous development and testing of individualized technologies. Nonetheless, research teams across the country have done a laudable job navigating this space.

They then shared the variety of ways our university-based teams infused evidence-based instruction principles, agile development, formative evaluation, mixed designs, and data mining into our design, development and research process to develop and examine the effects of those programs. Given that the field still has far to go, we will lead a discussion about how to propel this type of work forward, perhaps with new, realistic models of private/public partnerships and supports to promote product sustainability after grant funding ends.


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Essential ICU Nurse Training Forced Online During the Pandemic
Brandon Baker, Advent Health University & Daniel P. Mapes, FullSail University

Being locked out of the Advent Health University (AHU) training facilities in April coincided with a conflicting directive to increase the number of ICU trained nurses within a 2-3-week window where Coronavirus cases were predicted to spike. What followed was a collaboration between AHU and FullSail where a training design approach, started as a collaborative research the month before, became an essential deliverable overnight. While AHU researched, designed and produced “instructor in the loop” 360 training videos/scripts, FullSail embarked on a 7 day “game jam” that resulted in a deployable, networked, VR training platform where instructor and students could review materials together from their homes or hospitals in safety. In this session the team presented their approach to rapid prototyping of training materials during an unforeseen crisis.

Measuring Effectiveness in Healthcare Simulations
Jeffrey Berkley of Mimic Simulation

Adopting new technologies can be very disruptive to operating room efficiency. This disruption is compounded when the technology is not easily accessible outside of the operating room for training. This is certainly the case for robot assisted surgery, which is gaining significant traction as an alternative to open surgery and traditional laparoscopic surgery. Simulation training has proven to be an effective alternative to learning “real time” on patients in the operating room. Most high-risk disciplines, such as aerospace, aviation, hazmat and military, require simulation for training and high stakes testing. However, medicine has been slow to embrace simulation in a meaningful way. Most hospitals do not enforce a structured simulation training curriculum or simulation testing for privileging and credentialing.

However, the C-Suites of many hospital systems are now looking to simulation as a means of increasing OR efficiency while reducing surgical risk and costs. We therefore may be less than a decade away from a time where simulation testing will be required for surgeons as it is for pilots. Jeff Berkley, PhD, presented here on efforts by Mimic Technologies to create a common simulation training platform for surgical robots. Mimic began developing simulation for Intuitive Surgical’s da Vinci robot in 2003 and has more recently adapted its simulation platform for use with many of the new robots pending FDA approval. Dr. Berkley reviewed current and future application of simulation to robot assisted surgery. The presentation will emphasize the utilization of data analytics for identifying and remediating high risk surgeons. Dr. Berkley also discussed Mimic’s use of gamification for the purposes of encouraging surgeon engagement.

Learn More About the Serious Play Conference Here!


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