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Doctors play video games to increase diagnostic skills

The news: Medical video games helped experienced dermatologists increase competence and clinical decisions, per a new study by medical video game studio Level Ex in collaboration with CE Outcomes. A closed study of 59 practicing US dermatologists conducted a pre-assessment skill test and then had them complete a set of educational gaming modules using a game called Top Derm.

How the Top Derm study worked: Top Derm used short, rapid-fire challenges to test and strengthen physicians’ knowledge and ability to identify common and rare skin disorders.

The five modules included:

  • Pesky Pimples (acne)
  • Derm Hero (atopic dermatitis)
  • Zebra Cases (unusual disorders)
  • Melanoma DX and TX (diagnosis types and treatment challenges)
  • Visual Skinsations (hair and scalp disorders)

Demographics of the dermatologists in the study:

  • Ages 32 to 57, with 65% age 45 or younger, with an average of 14 years in practice.
  • All community-based dermatologists seeing an average of 151 patients per week.
  • 86% of their patients seen for medical dermatology issues rather than cosmetic dermatology.

Results: Participants demonstrated increased competence in diagnosing and managing choices. They also showed practice decision improvements in the game and even in the post-assessment phase weeks later.

The caveat: You’d expect a medical video game company to produce studies showing that its games benefit doctors. Level Ex makes video games that target a variety of medical specialties, as well as games to teach doctors about new medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

Doctors are people, too, and enjoy playing games like everyone else. But they don’t have a lot of time to spend on gaming, either.

Our take: Marketers can reach doctors effectively with games designed to boost their medical knowledge and clinical decision-making skills. It would help if they got CME credit, too.

This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.