Games are an effective source of entertainment, with the best ones engaging players in skill building, strategy, and competition. With the prevalence of mobile devices, gaming has taken a turn for the convenient, as mobile users are able to challenge friends from any location and at any time of day. What if we could harness the intrinsic engagement of mobile gaming, and leverage it to build practical skills in the medical and veterinary world? Through strategic partnerships with Games Learning Society and Learning Games Network, DMI has done just that.
With mobile game-based simulations, medical and veterinary students have access to a range of designed experiences — from hand washing to emergency patient intervention — to facilitate practice and mastery before interfacing with live patients or animals. Each of these game-based mobile applications records user proficiency in the given task. For faculty, this means continuous access to students’ progress; for many students, though, this also means friendly competition and enhanced engagement through learning as game-play or performance. Below is a summary of the simulations currently available or on the horizon:
Diagnose Me: Designed to help medical students prepare for the USMLE Step 2 practical exam, Diagnose Me teaches students the process of patient assessment and diagnosis in a simulated clinical environment. Within the created environment of the game, students “meet” a patient, conduct an interview, order laboratory tests, and perform an interactive physical exam before determining and justifying the most likely diagnoses.
SOAPme: Time management, case management, communication skills, and cost considerations are front and center for veterinary students. The game steps students through interviewing the animal’s owner, doing a physical exam, ordering lab tests, and considering treatments in preparation for clinical outcomes in an outpatient veterinary clinic.
Hand Washing: Poor hand hygiene is still a problem in the medical world, and failing to properly wash hands during USMLE testing between patient visits is grounds for failure. In this game, students are challenged to complete a hand washing simulation, achieving 100 percent coverage in 20 seconds. Once proficiency is mastered, students can compete with others on campus to determine who’s the fastest and most thorough.
Medical Bone Viewer and Veterinary Bone Viewer: These applications show the skeletal system of humans (for medical students) or animals (for veterinary students, a cat, horse, cow, and dog system are available). The learning phase of the game provides an index alongside the skeletal system which, when activated, will identify the selected structure in the anatomical view. Once the student is familiar with the anatomy, the game function will challenge him/her to identify a series of bones by tapping their anatomical location on the screen while a timer ticks down.
Mobile Airway Lab: This application provides students with two simulated patient encounters. They must administer emergency and other treatments, determine chronic and emergency respiratory diagnoses, order tests, and more. What makes the Mobile Airway Lab unique is that it is inherently clinical, introducing students to clinical care situated within a patient encounter.
Histology Lab: Based on classic card matching games, this application presents students with two views of the same histology (one at 10x magnification and another at 1000x, for example). Students are challenged to identify the matching histologies and, when they do, answer a multiple choice question about it.