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Video Games: A New Trend in Healthcare that Saves Lives

Video games can be a boon in addressing a variety of health conditions. There is much more than fun that video games can offer in terms of  health-related benefits.  

Video games is a million-dollar industry and as far as entertainment is concerned its use has been increasing exponentially since its advent. Participants of all ages and genders across the globe have been getting attracted to the gaming world. The stigma around traditional video gaming gradually started to decline. Despite the negative health consequences, it is slowly finding its way into healthcare discipline. 

Initially, there was a cultural disconnect between the game developers and healthcare professionals. Both were two different disciplines. The cultural shift has occurred lately. Entertainment has been used as a platform for serious intervention in healthcare. Video games are designed strategically to attend to diverse issues in health among patients keeping in mind the needs of the patient and the market insights on a regular basis. Technology advancement leaps at the blink of an eye. So, being innovative and adaptive is the key to stay upfront in the market. 

GAMES FOR SURGICAL SKILLS

Surgeons often find themselves in situations where they can’t risk the patient’s life due to lack of proper skill. They can use medical gaming technology and practise the surgery. It can be made more realistic by incorporating additional patient information and conditions. Studies had proved that a surgeon who played a game before surgery performed better at laparoscopic and endoscopic procedures in particular. Eventually, surgeons master the craft by playing video games. It enhances the cognitive skills of health care professionals. It improves hand-eye coordination too. 

TAILOR-MADE VIDEO GAMES FOR HEALTH

To motivate patients

Often the surgical procedures are painful and aversive . They are boring and mundane too. Engaging patients to distract from the pain and motivating them is crucial for their recovery. Video games have direct implication by promoting patient’s participation and increasing patient’s knowledge about disease. Strict adherence by the patient to their regime can be achieved with video gaming. They aim at improving patient’s adherence to some life saving treatments which are quite aversive.

For managing pain

Video games are made to use in pain management to distract people from acute to chronic pain and to ease the pain. Here video games are made with limited physical movement caring for the wound. EX:  In burn pain, patients are made to navigate through the snow world virtually and enable the patient to shoot ice, igloos, snowmen, etc.

In physical therapy

Active video games demand spending more energy due to increased physical activity and hence reduce obesity. They are no replacement when compared to the actual sport. Video games have the potential to influence  physical activity in patients needing physical therapy positively. EX: Nintendo WII is aimed at engaging the patients in strength and balancing aerobic activities.

VIRTUAL SURGERIES-  Bridging the gap

With the merger of two disciplines, applying gaming technology into clinical space has fueled the evolution of clinical VR. Surgical training is still in its infancy level, relying mostly on learning through observation. Virtual reality is an attempt to bridge the gap, enhancing the quality of the traditional simulators to fit into the modern era. The concept of virtual reality gained realistic manipulation with the introduction of WII systems. Virtual surgery can be a way out to hone the skills of a surgeon which reinforces the fact that learning can be better and faster through failures. The more they practise, the more they can master the skill. A multiplayer component allows surgeons to work together in VR as a team. 

Level Exs’ realistic simulations allow the participants to visualise the human anatomy as they proceed further in the game through different cases like removing a foreign object from a patient’s airway or performing a colonoscopy on a virtual patient. As they win through the game, they can unlock advanced levels and new levels of tools. The degree of difficulty and challenges increase as one proceeds further.  A  built–in-analytics that objectively measures the surgical performance can be incorporated to improve the efficiency of the game. 

To conclude,  poorly designed research studies and their outcomes cannot be used as a basis to support or refute the efficiency of the models. Despite the sophistication offered by the games, proper guidelines are to be set for conducting the research studies to evaluate and validate the games for health. Both disciplines indulge in continuous learning and discovering. So, constant updation and reinvention in line with the current trends and patient’s needs are crucial for reaping the maximum benefits of the technology.

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