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Are surgeons using video games for training?


Are surgeons using video games for training? Author's Note

When I first received this article topic, I felt hopeful: Could it be? Are surgeons training via an activity so many people see as pointless (or even destructive)? I've always been bothered by what seems like a blanket disdain for all things video-related in certain segments of our society -- the insistence that TV is evil, movies are trash, and video games are a complete waste of time. My husband and I find ourselves discussing this pretty regularly, possibly because I love TV and he enjoys video games, and we take the position that the automatic rejection of almost any piece of piece of media or technology as truly pointless is unwise.

In writing about the potential for using Monkey Ball, of all things, in surgical training, I felt deliciously validated. Ha! Benefits! Because while I personally see "mere" entertainment as a significant benefit, it's nice to be able to point to something as dramatic and humanity-saving as a 47-percent reduction in surgical errors as a possible result of regular indulgence in gaming. A recent search also uncovered a Nintendo DS game called "Trauma Center" that takes the connection to a more literal level. Brilliant! I'm picturing mandatory gaming labs on surgical rotations.

Sources

  • Colucci, Frank. Military Pursues Medical Modeling and Simulation Devices. Military Medical Technology. February 10, 2004. http://www.temple.edu/ispr/examples/ex04_05_06.html
  • Dobnik, Verena. Surgeons may err less by playing video games. MSNBC.com. April 7, 2004. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4685909/
  • Marriot, Michael. We Have to Operate, but Let's Play First. The New York Times. February 24, 2005. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/24/technology/circuits/24docs.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
  • Nintendo Surgeons More Precise? Wired.com. December 19, 2004. http://www.wired.com/print/medtech/health/news/2004/12/66086
  • Playing Video Games May Contribute To Keyhole Surgery Skills. Medical News Today. February 21, 2007. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/63580.php
  • Surgeons With Video Game Skill Appear To Perform Better In Simulated Surgery Skills Course. ScienceDaily.com. February 20, 2007. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070220012341.htm