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Medical Students Open To Learning With Video Games

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the fragging-diseases dept.

Education 46

Gwmaw writes "A reported 98 percent of medical students surveyed at the University of Michigan and University of Wisconsin-Madison liked the idea of using technology to enhance their medical education, according to a study published online in BMC Medical Education. For example, a virtual environment could help medical students learn how to interview a patient or run a patient clinic. In the survey, 80 percent of students said computer games can have an educational value."

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What else would they do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33225230)

If not play games? Cut each other open and feel around? Flatline?

Re:What else would they do? (0, Offtopic)

nacturation (646836) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225262)

If not play games? Cut each other open and feel around? Flatline?

Young whippersnapper, go watch Flatliners [] .

Re:What else would they do? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228534)

Isn't that what they get paid to do after graduating?

Forgot the anesthesia (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225274)

Anyone remember the game "Life or Death"? I was young, and the only patients who survived me were those I could refer to a specialist, and those with gas.

Oh you lucky kidney stone patients, and those of you who I thought had Kidney stones and the specialist saved you. The rest, I'm sorry, there was nothing I could do (right, apparently).

BF Skinner (1)

Sad Loser (625938) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225654)

This is a pretty vacuous vox pop study that doesn't really tell me anything I didn't know.

The problem with this approach goes back to BF Skinner [] and his teaching machines in the 1950s. Essentially it is that all the interaction has to be scripted, and if you think about even the large free roaming games like GTA, all the key interactions are pre-determined.
The problem with humans is that they do not act in linear predictable ways, and that is what makes them so interesting, and challenging. A VR environment can not yet portray the level of detail necessary for complex human-human interaction to be realistic.

The problem with medical students is that progressive generations of well meaning medical education 'innovation' mean that they spend less and less time interacting with patients. Only this, structured and supervised properly, is good training for what you want them to be able to do at the end - to interact with patients.

I do see a time in the future when some good learning will be possible in a true virtual environment, but for now, like other simulation based training, it is limited to the relatively few situations when the situation portrayed is adequately realistic and the stuff being taught is simple e.g. Pavlov's dog stimulus-response stuff - things like resuscitation. It is not appropriate for teaching, even less for testing, complex human-human interaction.

[CoI IAAD, have masters in MedEd, and teach in (allegedly) the top medical school in the UK]

Re:BF Skinner (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33226368)

The funny thing is that the folks in TFS seem to be focusing on using games to do stuff that is very hard to do with computers, and very cheap(comparatively) to do with people, rather than focusing on the stuff that is relatively easy to do with computers and extremely costly to do with people.

Learn interviewing skills? Here kid, put this badge on, go two floors down, and watch real doctors interviewing the steady stream of people who won't stop coming through the doors. If you are just too nervous, go take an improv class at any community college and then come back. This should cost virtually nothing, and be more effective than any motion-captured and voice-acted uncanny-valley-regional-medical-center scripted crap.

By contrast, with decent haptic feedback peripherals(pricey; but not extraordinarily so, and reusable) and good display goggles(ditto), it should be possible for our budding young surgeon to run through any procedure in the library, on hundreds of different bodies generated algorithmically from medical imaging data, with occasional complications thrown in, as many times as he wants without depleting the supply of charismatic fuzzy animals or killing anybody.

Why focus on simulating the patient interview? The world is overflowing with interviewable patients, many of whom wouldn't mind a med student, and simulating human interaction(and properly detailed humans, without incredibly heavy use of the real thing during production) is hard.

Games for teaching doctors? (1)

Qubit (100461) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225308)

Ayup, I've worked at a lab doing that for the past few years...

The Interactive Media Laboratory (IML) is part of the Department of Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School. IML specializes in combining emerging technology with innovative instructional design. For over 18 years, it has produced high-end interactive multimedia educational programs for both patients and health care providers. Additionally, it has developed distance learning systems capable of delivering rich multimedia over the Internet. []

What I find really interesting is that it's often not the complexity of games and interactions in games that drives adoption and success, but careful selection of course material, subject-matter experts, and good underlying layout and design. Although leisure games are often sold solely on the level of explosive interaction and realistic blood-and-guts, at the end of the day, so-called "Serious Games" (yeah, I think it's funny, too) have to really provide more tangible results than "Total Kills," and as a result there has to be a interesting balance between pure amusement and education.

Re:Games for teaching doctors? (1)

naz404 (1282810) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225380)

I don't think "total kills" is something you'd want listed on your file as a doctor...

Re:Games for teaching doctors? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33226388)

"First blood", "double kill", "multi kill", "malpractice lawsuit".

Biased Question (1)

Psychotic_Wrath (693928) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225316)

I am surprised that it wasn't 100% that people would say a computer game can have educational value.

Re:Biased Question (1)

williamhb (758070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225370)

I am surprised that it wasn't 100% that people would say a computer game can have educational value.

The difference is probably in how you interpret the word, rather than your opinion of the product -- for example, nobody would doubt that airline's high-tech cockpit simulators are useful for training their pilots, but not everybody would consider them a "game". Same goes for patient simulators.

Biased Survey (3, Insightful)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225362)

Of course, the medical students would say that, I bet that business students would say the same thing about computer games for their field as well. Who doesn't like games? In any case, we know this method is attractive, now the real question is, can we make games that are good enough for those students to learn anything? And to some extent, I think that we will be able to, but only partly I believe. Making a good game is still mostly more an art than a science, and making a good game that will actually teach something will be doubly difficult.

Re:Biased Survey (1)

Kikuchi (1709032) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225564)

That's exactly what I thought

A reported 98 percent of medical students [...] liked the idea of using technology [...]

Yeah... so?

Re:Biased Survey (1)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225870)

up down up down left right left right A B C.

That's the cheat code to reset a dislocated shoulder, right?

Re:Biased Survey (1)

internettoughguy (1478741) | more than 4 years ago | (#33226426)

No, that's a walk-through actually.

Re:Biased Survey (1)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 4 years ago | (#33226002)

Can you say "Operation"? Damn I could never get the kidney out!

Re:Biased Survey (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33227954)

Education itself is more an art than a science - and nothing in the entertainment industry is scientific - so I don't know where people would get the idea that ANY method could be better at teaching than others. (I mean if classrooms were SO effective than we wouldn't see dropouts).

Every individual learns in different ways, and sadly, those who don't enjoy learning in a classroom environment are the ones who fall behind. Video games make excellent educators for those who enjoy playing them, mostly because the information introduced in them doesn't seem to be forcing you to remember it, it just gets lightly reinforced every now and then so it sticks.

I mean - anyone else here actually play through the campaigns and/or read the info provided in the Age of Empires series? I learned more about midieval history from those games than any classes I took.

I suggest another study (1)

blai (1380673) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225378)

I suggest a new study to find out if scrabble helps word-spelling memory. I just *can't* be sure.

But they already do use these... (3, Informative)

williamhb (758070) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225392)

This seems like an unsurprising result given that a lot of medical students already use simulations in their training (everything from haptic simulators for laproscopic surgery, to mannekins that can be hooked up to medical equipment and have an operation performed on them, to role-play scenariors with actors playing the patients). Indeed there are plenty of companies selling video-based simulation equipment, and whole medical conferences on medical simulation for training.

In other news, 98% of golfers thought it might be helpful to practice their putting.

Re:But they already do use these... (1)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225652)

You bring up a very good point. What exactly is the difference between a simulation and a game?

On one end you have games that don't simulate reality in any way.

Most games partially simulate reality with deliberate modificatons to make things entertaining.

Then on the the other hand you have simulations that try to simulate the real thing as closely as possible within the constraints of the environment or programmers. Are those games?

That is tricky. Flight simulators often fall into that category, yet are considered games.

But even if you exclude that, most people would consider serious simulations of real life games to be games. A serious simulation of a Formula-1 race would be considered a game by most people. A serious golf simulator is also generally considered a game.

In some sense any serious simulation that allows you to try out things you might want to do in real life if you could do so without the consequences is a game. A serious simulation of a high speed pursuit by cops, where you control the fugitive is definitely a game. The objective? You decide, but an obvious one is to last as long as you can before they cuff (or shoot) you.

But a serious simulation of an abacus? I'm pretty sure nobody would think that was a game.

Re:But they already do use these... (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33226134)

Consider this is robotic surgery [] virtual or not, as there is a digital interface controlling all the interactions between the doctor and the patient providing the surgical team a virtual representation of what is going on.

So in terms of teaching methods for robotic surgery you create virtual output for the doctor that reacts to the doctors inputs on the controls. So will robotic surgery by the dominant form with minimum patient intrusion and reduced infection risks. The more it is used the cheaper it becomes especially if governments around the world work together to fund open patent development of it (serving the public versus serving profits).

Re:But they already do use these... (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228338)

To me, the term 'game' implies both an artificial scoring system and a potential emotional pay off that a straight simulation wouldn't necessarily provide. The person who sponsored/did the survey in the first place probably has an agenda as it relates to games, otherwise he/she would just have chosen a more neutral word like 'simulation' to begin with.

"Open to"... (2, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225580)

I am 'open to' having sex with beautiful women to enhance my medical education. For example, sex with beautiful women could help me learn female anatomy, or how to run a patient clinic.

Of course I'll need government funding. 4 years and $1M should do it. I'll write a great thesis too to determine if any of the above is actually true.

Games (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225588)

They play Quake and learn about gun shot wounds?

No substitute for reality (1)

CuteSteveJobs (1343851) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225598)

> For example, a virtual environment could help medical students learn how to interview a patient or run a patient clinic.

Neither is a substitute for interacting with real patients or working at a real clinic. It may be less work for the medical student to play PC games, but for effective diagnosis you need to know what the patient looks like, how they walk, move, etc. How much are you going to get out of interviewing a Sim? Do these people think they can interact with a Sim the same way they would with a real patient (other than a pre-canned script)? Being able to play it in your underwear with a beer in your hand may sound more appealing to the current generation of med students, but it won't make them better doctors. Last thing we need is more lazy butts looking for a ride on easy street: []

> In the survey, 80 percent of students said computer games can have an educational value.

In the survey run by a medical education company, 80 percent of students said they *think* computer games can have an educational value. There's a difference.

> according to a study published online in BMC Medical Education

BMC, might I suggest in your next press release announce you will deliver your product on iPads or on Facebook for even more publicity. I don't blame BMC for PR scamming, but I do blame the media for lazily reprinting any press release e-mailed to them.

Re:No substitute for reality (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 4 years ago | (#33226700)

Do these people think they can interact with a Sim the same way they would with a real patient (other than a pre-canned script)?

Sure, because I am positive that the programmers will introduce the "baby won't stop crying and mommy is getting mad", "mommy's hidden agenda is a prescription of amphetamines", "daddy has an STD and doesn't want mommy to find out", "teenage daughter is making eyes at you and is trying to seduce you because she's drawn to the lab coat, position of authority and social status and can't control her hormones", "no one helps grandma take car of her diabetic feet and she's going to lose a toe", "grandpa just passed out at the sight of a needle and his BP is 70/40 in your office" scenarios that will make it just like real medical practice.

Seriously I have 2 comments. Firstly I remember the thing that wasn't in the books but I kept hearing over and over again during my medical training from every single tutor: "There are no absolutes in medicine". I wonder how a "computer simulation" is going to deal with that. Secondly I have to argue that the US is internationally famous for having doctors with excellent knowledge of pathology and technology, and practically zero hands on/clinical knowledge. What use is it to be able to know which of Ranson's criteria wasn't postulated by Ranson and the year it was added to the list, or how to read a PET scan, if you can't tell the difference between a migraine and a CVA WITHOUT a CT scan. What use is it to be able to diagnose Paramyotonia congenita if you can't diagnose a heart attack without an EKG or an enzyme test? Sadly the US has a bad rep in this field. Widespread use of something like this - removing the actual patient from medical training - is not something I can see helping.

I was fortunate in that I received my medical training in a third world government health care system where, frankly, patients are treated just a little better than cattle. It's not ideal for them, but for me it means that I had seen, interacted with, interviewed and even performed procedures on thousands of patients even before graduating. In the US, I assume that access to patients is much more restricted due to liability issues - plus the attitude from the patient that "if I'm paying then only the attending is allowed to touch me".

I would venture that increasing awareness among patients to help them accept the role of the medical student would be far more effective than a simulator. Because medical students aren't all that learning impaired. You will never know, however, that you're acting like a pompous ass until a patient tells you to your face. And I don't think the simulator will do that for some reason. My 2 cents, as a doctor.

Re:No substitute for reality (1)

Jahws (1655357) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228876)

I'd like to submit the following real-world research that's been going on for the past six years, minimum: []
Warning: video on-site is stored as Windows Media Player format.

I personally worked on this research project some during my undergraduate years - in particular, the mentioned Cranial Nerve 3 case. Long story short, the project completely simulates a Standardized Patient interaction for the medical students, complete with life-size display and standard questionnaire. The scripting system isn't exactly precanned - okay, you have a limited set of questions, but the medical student isn't told that - they simply ask questions naturally and see what the patient responds with. None of your classic "select from these three to five options" gag that we're typically stuck with in video games.

Even if the speech recognition element of the system doesn't pan out, all you'd have to do is train someone to run the system, rather than how to fully act, speak, and appear as such a patient themselves. In addition, there are certain scenarios (such as the cranial nerve palsy case) where it is completely unsafe to have a newer medical student interviewing such a patient, as said patient would need immediate, highly trained medical intervention due to an immediate (potentially fatal) health risk. In addition, this case in particular is quite rare; thus, if nothing else, there is no other way to have standardized patient training for these cases in a reproducible and safe manner, and this sort of project has a future.

For those interested, this particular lab's research focus with this project is to determine just how much the "virtual environment"/"virtual person" aspect of the system would affect the impact that such interactions would have on those training with it. You'd be surprised at how much people subconsciously treat virtual people like real people... especially as long as the speech recognition is working properly. Do we exhibit the same racial biases toward virtual people as we do toward real people? Yes. [] (Other publications are also linked on this page [] .

University of Wisconsin (2, Interesting)

incripshin (580256) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225662)

Ugh, can we please stop appending '–Madison' to the name of the university? Nobody says 'University of Minnesota–Twin Cities'. I know nobody will listen :(.

-Markus Peloquin, University of Wisconsin

Re:University of Wisconsin (1)

cencithomas (721581) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225824)

Nobody says 'University of Minnesota-Twin Cities'

They do if they went to the University of Minnesota-Morris. ;)

Re:University of Wisconsin (1)

JackCroww (733340) | more than 4 years ago | (#33226588) []

When a state university has campuses in more than one city, they tend to differentiate between them all by appending the city name to the name of the university.

That's why there's UCLA, UC-Berkeley, etc. ( [] ).

Why, even Minnesota does it ( [] ); imagine that!

Of course, if you have a better system, by all means, let's hear it.

Re:University of Wisconsin (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#33227238)

No we can't, because University of Wisconsin is ambiguous. Yes, UW-Madison is the flagship school, but that doesn't mean it's the only one. UMass-Amherst and UC-Berkeley are in the same boat.

Re:University of Wisconsin (1)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#33228634)

Coming from University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, I vote that we keep the -Madison.

Sure. Learn anything with the right game. (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225666)

Anyone remember this one? [] Learned all I know about human biology from it. :)

Video games can be educational, no doubt. (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225730)

The trick is finding the correct balance between education and entertainment. Edutainment companies haven't seemed to be that effective. Edutainment seemed to be such a gimmick that few people put real effort into doing it right. Even the big hope of Leap Frog tended to fizzle out.

The one thing I remember being super effective for me was a math game for TI-99 where you counted, added, and subtracted. You got a "reward" of a small cut scene(been so long I forget it) if you got things right. I played that things for hours on end. I knew my education would be enhanced if I knew how to add and subtract like a pro.

There's a real market for video games that train people *ALL KNOWLEDGE KNOWN TO MAN* and sell it cheaply or for free with ads. Some people think the web has already accomplished this, but it hasn't. Take my example I had above of adding and subtracting. Kids so young can't navigate the web to get what they need. Also people who are intelligent can't always find the website they want. Even Wikipedia is only like "education lite". I think what needs to be done is some people to form some companies with the notion to train kids on educational topics with great skill.

It will take a lot of work to do this and funding, but there would be great rewards if you could make it so people can learn behind a computer without teachers. You can have paid or peer tutors in chatrooms and video conferances, so its not like the human element is gone, but less of an impact. Anyway, I'm doing this myself. First I'm making some Flash video games to get a bankroll. And once I've exhausted my ideas for fun video games, I'm moving into the educational "video game" arena. I don't even mind if big players are in it. I think the more people making education easier and more accessible across the world, the better! We can provide laptops to needy children, but if there's no software to give them an education, it won't impact their lives as much as it could.

Put it in a hint book (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225776)

I swear, people have zero problem remembering the route to take to get the Candle of Light, or the way to properly invoke the Dark Gem, or the way through the minefield to get to the German prisoner. Just make a popular game with the Ring of Shining replaced by the ring finger and the Pyramid of Peril replaced by the pyramidal tracts, and six months later you'd have people who know medical science backwards and forwards.

Woooo - Amateur Surgeon! (1)

NikolaiKutuzov (1226122) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225826)

I got really good with the spoon. Can I haz PhD now?

18% (1)

theY4Kman (1519023) | more than 4 years ago | (#33225964)

I like that 98% said they want to use technology for medical education, but only 80% said games had an educational value. There's an entire 18% that just want to put down the books and play a video game; they don't even care if it helps.

Trauma Center (1)

futlib (1278238) | more than 4 years ago | (#33226178)

The Trauma Center series is probably the most medical computer game I know. It's still rather anti-educational though.

Re:Trauma Center (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#33229036)

The Trauma Center series is probably the most medical computer game I know. It's still rather anti-educational though.

You mean they don't have green gels that magically fix your vitals? Doctors don't trace satanic symbols over patients to cast healing spells?

There goes my fucking thesis.

oh yeah ! (1)

Anarchduke (1551707) | more than 4 years ago | (#33226316)

I can see a computer room full of students, and one computer's speakers shouts out


Lumps and Bumps (1)

OglinTatas (710589) | more than 4 years ago | (#33226568)

Description: A group of stevedores has recently done some heavy lifting without proper safety gear and without warming up. You need to physically examine them to weed out workmen's comp malingerers.
Objectives: You are to properly diagnose and repair 5 simple hernias and one infarcted hernia.
Rewards: 24000 experience points and $100,000 billed to insurance.

Transferable skills (1)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#33226872)

Finally all my years spent playing Operation are going to pay off! Now if I can just master grabbing dang Bread Basket...

Immune Attack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33226928)

The Federation of American Scientists has produced the game Immune Attack, available at:

Its great to see us turn the corner. Less about Pikatchu, and more about white blood cells! this is a terrific trend!

We have to recognize JUNK INFORMATION from real world. Great News!

Re:Immune Attack! (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#33229102)

Hey, retard.
It's "Pikachu", and it's a nod to the pika. []

I bet you didn't even know that Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee are, in fact, Jackie Chan and Brue Lee.

Pro fucking tip: Ekans evolved into Arbok, right?
A simple snake evolving into a [k]obra!

It even fucking teaches you fucking Spanish!
The three legendary birds from G1?

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