Television shows have been using tension between hospital personnel as
compelling drama for years. But, in the real world, misunderstandings and
miscommunication in the healthcare environment can cause errors with long-lasting,
even fatal consequences.
In GLIMPSE, physicians and nurses are helping researchers determine if a video game simulation can improve their communication skills.
With that in mind, researchers at the University of Texas at Arlington
College of Nursing, Baylor Scott & White Health and UT Dallas developed a
video-game simulation that they say can teach doctors and nurses to work more
collaboratively by playing out tense situations in a virtual world.
The federally funded project recently received two national awards at
the 4th Annual Serious Games and Virtual Environments Arcade &
Showcase during the 2014 International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare in
San Francisco. The honors included a Best-in-Show award for the Academic Faculty
Category and a 4th place award in the Technology Innovations
“Our hope is that this project will enhance patient
safety and, ultimately, improve patient outcomes,” said Beth Mancini, a UT
Arlington nursing professor and Associate Dean of the College of Nursing.
“Being honored by the judges at this year’s International Meeting on Simulation
in Healthcare tells us that the virtual learning environment we’ve built is
among the very best in terms of content and design.”
Mancini is principal investigator for a nearly $1 million grant from
the U.S. Agency for Healthcare and Research Quality that funds GLIMPSE,
or a “Game to Learn Important Communications Methods for Patient Safety
Mancini’s partners in the research were Baylor
Scott & White Health’s Dr. Yan Xiao, director of patient safety research,
and Susan Houston, director of nursing research at the hospital, as well as
University of Texas at Dallas’ Marjorie Zielke.
is director of the UT Dallas Arts and Technology program’s Virtual Humans and
Synthetic Societies Lab.
Before the team could build a game for doctors and nurses to play as
part of the research, they had to recruit actual health care practitioners to
provide feedback about positive and negative workplace communications
experiences. Xiao said participation by Baylor nurses and physicians was key to
that step and hailed the Baylor team as “some of the most insightful
communicators for patient safety and optimal patient experience.”
Louann Cole, the health services
researcher at Baylor who served as the study’s project manager, added: “I
cannot stress the importance of our Baylor physicians and nurses and the
important role they had in this game. They were so candid. It was a wonderful
After the game was built, the
team began evaluating doctors and nurses’ knowledge on effective communication
strategies, inviting them to play the game in the role of doctor and the role
of nurse, and then evaluating participants afterward to see if the game helped
their knowledge. That data gathering is ongoing.
Organizers of the contest at the
International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare, which was held in January, compiled
a field of sophisticated competition entries that combined teaching and gaming
technology. Zielke said the contest judges’ recognition is deeply appreciated.
“The overall track record we
have with our game-based simulations and the international recognition we are
receiving is very gratifying, particularly when the subject matter is as
challenging as it is in GLIMPSE,” Zielke said. “As always, we owe our
continuing success to the project team and the great faculty, staff, and
students involved in these important research projects. The encouragement and support we get from our
administration is also critical.”
About UT Arlington
University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution and
the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The
Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh
fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News &
World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate
diversity. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more and follow #UTAdna.