Games in Healthcare

Healthcare Training Program 3DiTeams Becomes Critical New Tool

3DiTeams from Virtual Heroes3DiTeams is an interactive healthcare team training program created by advanced learning and serious games developer Virtual Heroes. Designed to improve team collaboration and reduce medical errors, it will be introduced to Duke University medical and nursing students in March of 2008.

The 3DiTeams training program is based on a health care team coordination curriculum called TeamSTEPPS, developed by the U.S. Department of Defense and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. TeamSTEPPS is a teamwork system which aims to improve communication and other teamwork skills among healthcare professionals. It was developed with funding from the U.S. Army's Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center. Read More...

“Effective team coordination is critical for the safe delivery of healthcare. Development of these skills requires training and practice in an interactive team-based environment,” said Jeffrey Taekman, MD director of Human Simulation and Patient Safety at Duke Medical Center, via news release. “Virtual Heroes worked with us to create a high-fidelity, multi-user, real-world, hospital simulation in a video game setting that is based on real science.”

Virtual Heroes’ 3DiTeams aims to reach three specific goals. First, individuals study teamwork and communication concepts online through video vignettes. Secondly, it teaches collaboration between as many as 32 learners who can enter this virtual world together and share feedback. Finally, it allows a debriefing, letting students review their performance, observe their behaviours, reflect on their actions, and discuss the positive and negative interactions.

Using photo-realistic art and effects, the program is incorporated into training programs allowing multiple users to train for interventions together, from different computers across the Internet. An instructor can control and drive the virtual patient’s vital signs dynamically during each scenario creating new challenges for students.

The program uses Epic's Unreal Engine, which powers popular video game titles like Gears of War, Mass Effect and of course, Unreal Tournament III. 3DiTeams can run on any network-connected computer and will soon be ported to the PlayStation Portable as Taekman announced in his blog early last month.

“We are excited to use our instructional design expertise, HumanSim technology and creative talent to help Duke University create this interactive training game to be used for hospital professionals,” said Virtual Heroes founder and CEO Jerry Heneghan.

Initially unveiled at the American Society of Anesthesiologists conference in October 2007, 3DiTeams is currently used to train residents and advanced practice nurses, and will be used to train Duke medical and nursing students starting this month.
The capabilities of 3DiTeams will also be presented this spring as part of the program during the fourth annual Games for Health conference and the Advanced Learning Technology Summit, both scheduled for May 2008.