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Serious Games For Medical Training Gains Footing

Tameka Clanton, a biomechanics researcher at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, demonstrates the iMedic, a program that creates a 3-D X-ray that allows doctors to examine the human body from every angle.

Last week, The Washington Post published a must read article about the use of "Serious Games" in medical training - Playing Doctor: Learning About Slips Of The Knife Better On 'Patients' Than Patients.

Although the use of gaming and simulation technology had been slow to gain footing in medical training, the article exemplifies how the video gaming industry has penetrated academia, offering researchers and students a new way to understand techniques that aren't always easy to teach.

“What's changing drastically now is the capability to inject much more robust and usable applications in the form of video games and computer simulations into these environments like never before", says Ben Sawyer.

Article Highlight

Maryland Advanced Simulation, Training, Research and Innovation (MASTRI) Center
The University of Maryland Medical Center has transformed an entire wing into the MASTRI Center. Surgical residents train there in once-functional operating rooms converted into simulation labs

The Maryland Advanced Simulation, Training, Research, and Innovation (MASTRI) Center officially opened its doors on December 6, 2006 with the dual goals of providing world-class simulation and training in a cross-disciplinary setting to a diverse constituency and providing a platform for innovation and research into simulation, training and practice.

The center employs both low and high-fidelity simulators for surgery, anesthesia and trauma procedures.

A broad array of equipment is utilized: multiple trainer stands provide advanced workstations for laparoscopic skill development, assessment, and training; Virtual reality (VR) simulators include Immersion Medicals Endoscopic AccuTouch LapVR and Haptica ProMIS.

The MASTRI Center extends its services to diverse groups with a variety of offerings outside of standard surgical simulation. Fifteen courses - including Intracorporeal Suturing, Basic to Emergent Airway, Laparoscopic Bowel Anastomosis, Laparoscopic Ventral Hernia Repair with Mesh Placement, and Intro to VR Laparoscopy - are currently offered to general surgery residents. The courses often take place in their entirety in the MASTRI Center, but this doesn't govern how residents spend their time learning.

The center was envisioned as a premier educational environment devoted to the training of healthcare practitioners across a diverse spectrum, with a particular focus on how users learn and adapt to new technologies.