How Doctors Are Training on the Xbox

How Doctors Are Training on the Xbox

Doctors are playing video games, but they aren’t lazy — they’re learning.

Northwestern Memorial Hospital doctors are learning to recognize symptoms of prescription drug abuse through video game simulations, and this type of training may expand to wider swaths of the medical community, demonstrating how video games can function as learning tools even at the highest levels of education.

The video game awards points to doctors based on how they deal with mockup patient scenarios. The game uses an algorithm used in FBI interrogation tactics, helping doctors prescribing medication to learn which verbal and non-verbal cues show a potential problem.

For example, the simulated patient will act hostile or show signs of a family history of drug abuse, and the doctors are rewarded or docked points by how they respond.

According to the New York Times, medical students will have free access to the game online soon, and medical schools and health care providers are in talks with the game makers to incorporate the simulation into their curricula and trainings.

Doctors already use video games therapeutically to help stroke victims recover and for people with lazy eyes, but this innovation demonstrates the power of mobile gaming technology to help high-functioning professionals learn new skills.

If the prescription abuse simulator catches on, medical school professors may look for more simulators to merge into their classrooms. University professors are early adopters of classroom apps, and even graduate-level programs offer classes based on simulations to fully immerse their students in scenarios.

President Obama started an initiative to promote educational video games, showing they are gaining acceptance as a learning tool, and this type of educational video game accepted at the highest levels of education may lend gravitas to other programs trying to blend video game learning into their classroom routines.

This innovation shows how video games can benefit students even at the highest levels of education, and backs up claims that mobile technology help students succeed in and out of the classroom.

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