Docs, nurses learn to get along in simulation game

A new simulation game aims to teach doctors and nurses how to work more collaboratively and avoid conflicts in order to prevent dangerous or sometimes fatal miscommunications.

Researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington College of Nursing, Baylor Scott & White Health and University of Texas at Dallas have developed a video-game simulation that can teach doctors and nurses to work together--helping them avert tense situations in the real world by playing them out in the game.

"Our hope is that this project will enhance patient safety and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes," Beth Mancini, a UT Arlington nursing professor, said in an announcement.

Before building the game, which is federally funded, Mancini and her team had to recruit real healthcare practitioners to give feedback on positive and negative workplace communications experiences.

After building the game, the team began evaluating doctors' and nurses' knowledge on effective communication strategies, inviting them to play the game in the roles of doctor or nurse. Participants then were evaluated afterward to see if the game helped their knowledge. The researchers are still gathering data about the impact of the game.

In another example of using gaming to improve outcomes, one payer says it's figured out how to break down complicated benefit information by using videos, quizzes and games on a new platform called Healthcare University. The idea, according to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, is to "make benefits education easy and impactful, to teach consumers how their benefits work and how to make value-based healthcare decisions."

Other payer and provider organizations, including Blue Shield of California, have turned to online and mobile gaming to boost member and patient engagement, as well. "Programs that use social media and gamification are particularly appealing," Bryce Williams, who directs a similar engagement program for Blue Shield, told FierceHealthPayer in an interview for the Fierce eBook, Consumer Engagement in the Post-Reform Era.

What's more, Cleveland Clinic also has incorporated gamification into its patient engagement and wellness efforts, according to Chief Wellness Officer Michael Roizen.

To learn more:
- see the announcement