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Duke U School of Medicine Expands Virtual Game Use for Future Doctors

The Duke University School of Medicine is expanding its efforts to train future doctors in clinical skills through 3D virtual games. The school, which has about 421 students in its MD program, is once again teaming up with Virtual Heroes, a company that creates training products for healthcare, federal systems, and business. Virtual Heroes, a division of research and engineering firm Applied Research Associates, worked with the school in 2007 to create 3DiTeams, an immersive environment that allows participants to play a role in a team medical setting.

The newest initiative will specifically leverage interactive game technologies for medical education and training in healthcare team communications, medical device and pharma product use, patient interactions, and other topics. The HumanSim platform being built by Virtual Heroes is intended to help medical professionals sharpen their assessment and decision-making skills without risk to patients.

The training software will be developed using Unreal Engine 3, a development kit from Epic Games. Epic publishes consumer games such as Unreal Tournament and Gears of War.

"This partnership brings together two world-class organizations with complementary resources and a shared commitment to advancing and improving medical education and training," said Jeffrey Taekman, assistant dean for Educational Technology. "The Virtual Heroes team has deep experience, a state-of-the-art HumanSim technology platform, access to all the resources of Applied Research Associates, and an exciting vision for growth. We are pleased to be partnering with them to develop what we believe will be the next generation of sophisticated tools to enhance learning among medical students and help students and trainees hone their clinical skills."

"Duke is bringing many things to this relationship, including their reputation for excellence, the Duke Human Simulation and Patient Safety Center, clinical and regulatory expertise, research expertise, and human factors engineering expertise," added Virtual Heroes Managing Director Jerry Heneghan.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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