Video games simulate medical procedures to help doctors in their training
Published Wednesday, July 3, 2019 9:52PM EDT
Video Game company Level Ex has created a series of video games to train surgeons on medical procedures by simulating real-life cases.
“The idea almost came about by accident,” said Sam Glassenberg, founder and CEO of Level Ex on CTV News Channel Wednesday.
Glassenberg himself comes from a self-described “long line of Canadian-American doctors,” but chose to go into video games, making him the “black sheep of the family.”
“Back in 2012 my father asked me to make him a game to train his residents how to do specific procedures,” he said. “So I sat down for a few weekends, threw a game together, uploaded it into the app store [and] didn’t think about it again.”
Glassenberg said two years on, he discovered that his game “had rallied an audience of over a hundred thousand doctors, nurses [and] airways specialists worldwide,” providing his motivation for starting Level Ex.
Now the company has four games in four specialties -- pulmonary, gastroenterology, cardiology and anesthesia -- and its developers have been “taking the most rare, difficult, interesting diagnostic and surgical cases” and recreating them as video game levels for medical professionals to play.
On one level, users have to figure out how to remove nails from a patient’s bronchus while inflicting the least amount of damage possible “using the right combination of moves and angles” of the tools provided in the game.
“We have doctors all over the world submitting real cases that they’re encountering in the operating room and then we’re recreating them as video game levels that thousands or tens of thousands of their colleagues worldwide can play,” Glassenberg said.
Glassenberg said Level Ex has “over 400,000 medical professionals” currently playing the games, including medical students, who are using them unofficially as part of their studies.
Moving forward, Glassenberg says Level Ex wants to create games that cover all of the major medical specialties to diversify the training available.