How Video Games Can Be Used to Improve Diagnosis and Treatment Methods

Using the latest in virtual and augmented reality technology, an award winning medical technology company is creating lifelike video game simulations to help train physicians and improve diagnosis and treatment methods.

Kristopher Sturgis

October 31, 2018

3 Min Read
How Video Games Can Be Used to Improve Diagnosis and Treatment Methods
Courtesy of Level Ex

These days when it comes to improving the process of diagnosing and treating patients, medtech companies are always looking for explore the unexplored. Level Ex, an innovative medical technology company based out of Chicago, may be taking the most unique approach with the release of their latest mobile game designed to train, educate, and improve the diagnosis and treatment skills of physicians.

The new mobile game, known as Pulm Ex, was designed for pulmonologists and aims to bring to life the most challenging patient cases for physicians around the country to help improve their diagnosis and treatment skills using highly realistic virtual patients. The game features a library of different pulmonary cases that include obstructive and restrictive diseases, foreign bodies, endobronchial masses, lung cancers, and more.

“Pulm Ex presents physicians with virtual patient case scenarios that can be seen in general and interventional pulmonology,” says Level Ex founder and CEO Sam Glassenberg. “The cases in the game are real cases submitted to Level Ex by leading pulmonologists who have identified these scenarios as some of the most challenging in the field. The game itself is incredibly realistic. Smoke rolls off of freshly-cauterized tissue, blood pools in crevices, foreign objects break and embed in bronchial walls, gooey secretions stick to your scope. These systems are 100% interactive and dynamic, and you will never see the same result twice.”

In order to capture the lifelike elements of these real-life cases, Pulm Ex’s award-winning game developers and designers deployed techniques from popular physics-puzzle games and first-person perspective mobile games. In the game, physicians can be scored based on speed, avoiding tissue damage, decision-making, and other skills — all while competing against their colleagues to achieve the best outcome.

“Pulm Ex is an entirely new paradigm for pulmonologists to stay up to speed in their ever-advancing field, while earning continuous medical education,” Glassenberg says. “The platform enables physicians to try out the latest devices and techniques, while challenging themselves and their colleagues to achieve the best outcome in some of the most difficult patient cases. We believe this will help produce practitioners who are better prepared for the unforeseen circumstances of surgery, diagnosis, and patient management — not to mention provide some much-needed relief from dry, didactic continuing education methods.”

Level Ex has been producing different innovative new mobile games for different fields of medicine for a few years now. The other games currently available are Gastro Ex, a game designed for gastroenterologists; Airway Ex, designed for anesthesiologists and emergency medicine physicians; and soon-to-be-released Cardio Ex, a mobile game designed for cardiologists.

“Our games provide physicians with an entertaining way to practice new techniques and learn about medical device and drug therapies in a risk-free environment,” Glassenberg says. “We try to identify the greatest challenges of medical practice and capture them as video game mechanics.”

Prior to its launch in the App store, Pulm Ex was played as a prototype by over 1,000 pulmonologists and was named Audience Choice Winner of the 2018 IPF Catalyst Challenge, as the solution to most positively impact the diagnosis of Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), an interstitial form of lung disease

Going forward, the company plans to release new cases and levels to its player base every month, and has already begun partnering with top pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies to use the game to educate and train physicians.

“We now have multiple generations of physicians who have grown up on video games,” Glassenberg says. “They’ve seen the breathtaking realism that their Playstation 4 is capable of, or their iPhone for that matter. They won’t tolerate training simulators and tools that look straight out of 1991. They’re looking for more innovative ways to learn that can be accessible to their daily lives. Our mobile games can help fill that gap in medicine by offering incredibly immersive and skill-advancing experiences to physicians right on their phone or tablet.”

About the Author(s)

Kristopher Sturgis

Kristopher Sturgis is a freelance contributor to MD+DI.

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