Medical students using games to practice

March 3, 2008 5:40:28 PM PST
Medical students and healthcare professionals at Duke University are playing a lot of video games lately.

They're among the first in the country to use a virtual game to train for real patients. It's the same type of technology the Army used to train soldiers.

Doctor David Martin, a second year resident says, "It's fun to interact in new cutting edge material but it's also just like being in a real simulator you see what you're doing you can hear you can see the vital signs change just like you would in a regular operating room."

Doctor Davin Mitchell, a fourth-year resident in anesthesiology adds, "There's a gap between what you can learn in a book verses what you have to do on your feet."

Thinking on your feet is what the game allows Duke Anesthesiologist, Dr. Jeffry Taekman to teach. He's the director of the Human Simulation and Patient Safety Center which is developing the prototype virtual game with a Cary based gaming company.

"I as the instructor have the ability to raise or lower blood pressure raise or lower oxygen saturation heart rate all the vital signs that we follow typically on a patient I have direct control over," Taekman said.

While the virtual reality world allows users to practice real life situations that might happen in real life it also allows them to practice communication which is key in emergencies.

"Up to 70% of sentinel events which are adverse events which happen in a hospital setting or because of teamwork and communication," Taekman explained. "I've always found, if you make a mistake especially on the computer where it's not affecting a human life it's that you learn better from that you learn not to do that again."

Valuable lessons from a virtual world that can mean life or death in the real world.


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