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‘Medical Video Games’ Provide Great Training for Healthcare Professionals

Posted Jun 06 2009 10:36pm

By-line:
DENA WHITE is a freelance writer and covers topics such as nurse assistant and medical careers, health care topics, and more.

Just a quick search on the Internet and you can see some great screenshots from the video game Zero Hour. Zero Hour is a fantastic video game that has you playing as an EMT who must respond to catastrophes such as a biological weapons attack in a major US city. You have to treat and diagnose panic-stricken patients as well as manage supplies, which are disorganized and unpredictable.

The United States Department of Homeland Security created this game in some measure as a way of training responders for emergencies in real life situations. This is the perfect example of interactive virtual reality modernizing the way professionals are taught and trained.

The days when video games were seen as nothing more than tools to promote passive learning and aggressive behavior are fading fast. Video games with real world learning applications are exploding on the scene and leaving critics around the globe in a state of astonishment.

A New Way To Learn

Innovative education using specially designed or off-the-shelf video games are sweeping the fields of healthcare, education, business and government. The primary focus is on healthcare partially due to the fact that the payoffs are immediate. When it comes to meeting health care goals, many have found that one of the most cost-effective methods for training healthcare professionals is video games that simulate real-life events.

The most popular games include those based on biofeedback that teach the players how to lower biological stress signs as well as games that teach healthcare professionals how to manage individuals who suffer from various phobias, asthma, heart disease and diabetes. Other games focus on simulated exercises. One video game connects to a bicycle and allows players to race through the streets of the big cities.

Educating With Games

The educational theory that is emerging around video games comes from research indicating that a new kind of learning called information literacy has spawned from the Internet. This is different from traditional learning through reading books and attending lectures. This is a more interactive way to learn using computers.

Experts claim that video games have several benefits that aid learning:

  • Video games stimulate prior education. Players have to use information that they learned previously in order to advance to the higher levels of the game.
  • Players receive immediate feedback by way of scoring as well as auditory and visual stimulus that lets players modify learning techniques.

  • Transfer of skills from video games to reality is likely to occur.

  • Motivation to learn about new tasks and ideas are higher for most when they play video games.

Video games are often used as a last resort when other forms of therapy fail in the treatment of hyperactive children who need help focusing their attention. Research is taking place to determine how such games work and the ways that they can be used to complement other therapies. In addition, experts are studying ways for video games to aid in reaching healthcare goals as a less expensive alternative to traditional, more expensive treatments. The effect of video games on the healthcare industry is an area that researchers have just begun to explore.

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