Why Medical Video Games are Particularly Educational for Med Students

Medical students can test their skills and have the freedom to fail and learn from mistakes as gamers
Medical students can test their skills and have the freedom to fail and learn from mistakes as gamers

HealthDay News — Video games can play a role in medical education, offering new methods for teaching medical students, according to a report published by the American Medical Association (AMA).

Students can benefit from multiplayer online role-playing games by collaborating with their peers and educators in a clinical learning environment. Games can be used to mimic any kind of environment and can allow students to accomplish individualized goals, test their clinical knowledge, and build competencies across care settings. Video games allow students to test their skills and have the freedom to fail and learn from mistakes. In addition, they offer opportunities for students to conduct risk-benefit analysis and follow individualized learning plans.

Three games are already helping students to master skills in medical settings. "Prognosis" provides clinical cases with pictorial representations of physical exams for simulated patients, testing students' decision-making skills and clinical knowledge. "Medical School" is designed for premedical students, allowing them to walk through a virtual medical school, treat patients in clinical settings, and order exams. "Microbe Invader" allows students to diagnose patients by ordering lab tests and considering patients' symptoms and history in an understaffed virtual hospital.

"Video games offer competitive environments, and medical students and physicians are type A. We love to win," Suraiya Rahman, MD, from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, said in the AMA report. "We love being really good at something, learning something, and getting better at it."

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