Designing Serious Games to Train Medical Team Skills

McDermott, A., Niehaus, J., and Weyhrauch, P.

Virtual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation, and Education Conference (vI/ITSEC) (November 2020)

More access to effective medical team training across the DoD can significantly improve patient outcomes and save lives (Hughes et al., 2016). The DoD and medical communities need implementations of team training protocols that do not require extensive time and personnel commitments. Serious games have lower barriers to enable training because they are highly deployable, are available on-demand, and do not require training staff. This paper reports on the process of implementing team skills training within a single-player serious game. In this paper, we present the process of defining what each of these skills entails, defining the mechanics for how to translate the skills into a game environment, and developing a game that captures these skills. Based on a literature review and interviews with experts, we identified three key team skills that would be our focus for implementation. Once the skills were identified, further work interviewing experts and researching how these skills were measured guided our game design. We encountered several challenges, including identifying appropriate scenarios, choosing appropriate fidelities for the game, and designing a communication platform to support conversation between the user and the virtual teammates. Finally, we validated our design through demonstrations to experts and to medical students, who were the likely audience for the game. This paper provides a case study for how medical team training translated to a game-based training, which will save time, reduce cost, and increase access to the training.

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