A groundbreaking new study has found that medical video games improve decision-making in highly experienced doctors

CHICAGO-(BUSINESS WIRE)–Medical video games have been shown to increase competence and clinical decision-making in busy, experienced physicians, according to a first-of-its-kind study.

Considerable research shows the effectiveness of video game-based medical training in the short term. These studies focused primarily on medical professionals in the earliest stages of their careers, such as medical students and residents, who are often the easiest to recruit. Previous studies have shown improvement from baseline and have primarily looked at low-level outcomes such as satisfaction and impact. This new study was initiated by medical video game studio Level Ex in collaboration with CE Outcomes. It delved deeper to assess improvement in clinical decision-making among a hard-to-reach demographic of practicing physicians—with an average age of 45 and an average of 14 years of practice. Findings were consistent among physicians regardless of their length of practice, indicating that game-based learning is attractive and effective across a wide age range.

In this latest study, physicians not only showed clinical improvement while playing the games, but also demonstrated improvement in clinical decision-making long after playing. This supports the idea that when physicians can experience clinical challenges in a consequence-free environment, such as medical video games, they build confidence, expand their knowledge, and strengthen their skill set.

“Compared to traditional medical education forums such as webinars and lecture series, medical video games are more engaging, enjoyable and convenient,” said Dr. Eric Gantwerker, vice president and medical director at Level Ex. “This important study extends the vast data showing that game-based learning increases knowledge acquisition, transfer and retention to show that these findings apply to practicing physicians, regardless of age or experience level.” It also suggests that this knowledge can be applied to clinical scenarios to help better care for the next patient who comes through the door.

“The doctors in this study were busy practitioners who saw an average of 151 patients per week. Finding the time to maintain new skills and treatment methods with this number of cases is a challenge,” said Dr. Peter Lio, a practicing dermatologist, world-renowned expert on atopic dermatitis and lead physician advisor to Level Ex. “Medical video games offer a unique and fun way for busy doctors to improve their clinical reasoning, allowing them to develop their skills at their leisure and without putting patients’ lives at risk.”

About the survey

For this study, doctors played Top Derm, a game created by Level Ex that recreates medically accurate skin disorders and diseases across a range of skin tones and body areas. Participating doctors played five game modules within Top Derm. These modules include focused challenges in a range of dermatological imaging and case scenarios. Physicians’ knowledge achievement was examined during the games, but more importantly, physicians’ knowledge transfer and retention were analyzed weeks later when physicians were presented with new patient case scenarios that assessed the same knowledge in a completely different format to the in-game experience.

Overall, doctors significantly improved their game scores and practical knowledge. In three of the modules, which focused on unusual skin conditions, hair and scalp conditions, and acne conditions:

  • 40% of doctors improved their score.

  • 88% of physicians either maintained or improved their score in the study’s follow-up assessment.

  • In some game modules, doctors increased their practical knowledge by 12% in just 30 minutes of game time.

  • The survey also found that nearly 75% of physician gamers preferred learning through medical video games over traditional continuing medical education (CME).

This study was conducted by third-party research firm CE Outcomes between February and April 2022. The study recruited a random sample of practicing dermatologists to participate in a pre-assessment, complete a set of educational game modules, and complete a post-assessment conducted at least two weeks after exposure to the educational games. A total of 59 US dermatologists completed all components of the study. They were typically busy clinicians with an average weekly patient load of over 150 patients per week.

For more information on how medical video games improve decision making for medical practitioners, visit our blog or read our white paper.

Relative level Ex

Level Ex is the world’s leading medical video game studio. We bring together the best minds in healthcare and interactive entertainment to accelerate the adoption of new skills and treatments in medicine. Using the Neuroscience of Play, our mobile games, medical simulations and cloud gaming platform engage hundreds of thousands of medical professionals and empower leading healthcare companies, societies and organizations like NASA.

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