New frontiers in Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Todd P Chang
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Todd P Chang

DIvisional Director for Research & Scholarship, Associate Fellowship Director, Division of Emergency Medicine at Children's Hospital Los Angeles
Todd is the Director of Technology for the INSPIRE Network with David Kessler & Marc Auerbach. Todd was formerly the Faculty Advisor and Head Site Administrator for the website's predecessor, pemfellows.com. He lives in Pasadena, CA, with his partner and 2 ridiculous cats that are probably sitting on his head as you read this.
Todd P Chang
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The PEM world appears to be running out of innovative ideas.  We’re always a niche specialty, there will always be demand for our services, but the latest items are reaching a maturity that makes us susceptible to the next best thing.  In any big organization (and let’s call the PEM world a loose confederate organization), an innovative concept goes through several stages of transformative change:

 transformAll transformative change begins with a mild xenophobia to resistance and turmoil from status quo before it can resurface to become the new status quo

Do you remember the backlash or disbelief at point-of-care ultrasound in the pediatric ED?  The groundbreaking work by ACEP was over a decade ago, and now we are slowly rising along that curve.  The same can be said about simulation training and assessment; no longer are we just playing with expensive dolls but reframing how training works among PEM physicians, practitioners, and trainees.

So, what’s the next big thing to begin that transformative change?  I would like to put out the theory now:  serious games in PEM training.  Perhaps the readers of this blog are more progressive technologically-inclined, but the majority of reactions to this field have been of the wtf or relegation to stereotype “out-of-shape males sitting in a dark room playing violent video games all day” (editor’s note:  that’s almost me – I usually leave a light on).  It has all the manifestation of the drop in that transformative curve.

Serious Games is a subset of video games that provide screen-based simulation for the explicit purpose of skills acquisition to benefit actual workplace skills.  It is different than the entertainment game that provides some incidental knowledge gain (e.g. – a historical conquest game, Civilization V) or an incidental hand-eye coordination gain (e.g. – almost all Wii games for surgeons).

A prototype game, courtesy BreakAway, Ltd

But perhaps that is the next new innovation.  It borrows elements from mannequin-based simulation, and the trials & tribulations that phenomenon went through, and is poised to be reviled and hated before it gets adopted.  It is currently a step or two beyond acceptance from, say, e-learning, or digital scholarship, 2 items we have definitely covered in PEMNetwork, but it’s a leap to go into the concept of serious games and even gamification of training.

What is your gut reaction?  Is it an eye-widening mesmerism:   “cooooooool” or is it an instant slap across the face of skepticism?  If it’s at least one or the other (or even, paradoxically, both), then we’re definitely in the early stages of transformative change.  Which means for those proponents of serious games in PEM, it’s now time to act and study them, implement them in small doses, and push the transformative change by providing best practices of serious games.  Let’s take control of the wave of this new future and steer it the right way.  Anyone with me?  Hello?  Anyone?  Until that happens, I’ll go play some Starcraft II: LOTV…

Our first INSPIRE serious games summit

Our first INSPIRE serious games summit

 

Todd P Chang

Todd P Chang

Todd is the Director of Technology for the INSPIRE Network with David Kessler & Marc Auerbach. Todd was formerly the Faculty Advisor and Head Site Administrator for the website's predecessor, pemfellows.com. He lives in Pasadena, CA, with his partner and 2 ridiculous cats that are probably sitting on his head as you read this.

2 Comments

  1. Virtual reality will be the next HUGE bubble. As technology innovation grows- surely – this will seriously impact how we train & learn.

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