Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) observed significant improvement in the triaging abilities of physicians who played an educational video game compared to those who practiced with a traditional educational app.
Deepika Mohan, MD, released her group’s study on Wednesday, finding that physicians who participated in the video game were 17% less likely to under-triage patients. Those who were exposed to the educational app were 11% more likely to severely injure a patient compared to those who played the video game.
“Night Shift” is an iOS game created in a collaboration between UPMC and Pittsburgh-based Schell Gaming Company. Mohan told HealthLeaders Media the collaborative process lasted nine months, as she supplied the medical and technical aspects while Schell crafted the game.
The trial was funded by a $2.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which covered the cost of developing the game and providing iPads to the 366 participating physicians.
According to Mohan, video games have previously been used for simulation testing, but “Night Shift” is the first to incorporate a narrative element which evaluates physicians in a trauma setting. In the game, doctors are presented with patients whose cases are derived from abstracts published in the New England Journal of Medicine, which gave Mohan permission to use them for the clinical trial.
The virtual patients’ experiences range from not feeling well internally to one who is dealing with rapid blood loss as the result of a gunshot wound. Mohan said earlier trauma prototypes bored the participating physicians, so the group introduced diagnostically challenging cases to engage them on an emotional and intellectual level.
Jack O'Brien is the Content Team Lead and Finance Editor at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.