Sunday, August 1, 2010

Game Technology in Medical Education

My dissertation at the University of Maryland focused on the impact of new innovations on established business practices, specifically the use of 3D computer graphics, interactive computers, networking, and intelligent software in medical education. I began with the introduction of simulation devices in teaching anesthesiology in the late 1960's with SimOne. That technology had been transferred directly from military training.

This book explores the research that has already been done in evaluating the effectiveness of simulation and gaming technologies in medical education. It is especially interested in the benefits that are derived from these technologies.

  1. Lower Cost of Delivering Education
  2. Better Access to Learning Events
  3. Reduced Time to Achieve Proficiency
  4. Reduced Errors in Later Practice

After analyzing over 250 papers in the medical literature I demonstrated that evidence already exists that all four of these are true under specific conditions. Therefore, the medical education field is currently in a position to adopt these technologies and reap the benefits that come from them.

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Overcoming the 4 Failures

While walking through a large discount store I wondered why many of the shoppers had not been more successful in their careers and perhaps in their lives. As I watched and thought about their situation, as well as my own successes and failures, I arrived at four failures that severely limit people's lives.

  • Stupid - uneducated and unprepared to learn and grow.
  • Lazy - unwilling to work hard and put out the effort to overcome obstacles.
  • Ugly - rude, inconsiderate, and even violent to other people.
  • Afraid - terrified to try something new or to brave the unknown.

I researched each of these areas in the psychology, leadership, and self-help literature. This book speaks very frankly to the damage that these four behaviors can do to your life. It offers alternatives and a means to change these weaknesses into strengths, specifically into:

  • Smart
  • Active
  • Attractive
  • Bold

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Chief Technology Officer

The CTO position is relatively new in corporate circles. It originally evolved out of the role of Director of Research in the 1970's. However, during the boom, the CTO title was adopted by the CIO shop, often as a deputy position. Chief Technology Officer: Defining the Responsibilities of the Senior Technical Executive is a collection of papers from research journals and popular trade publications on the role of the CTO. It attempts to give a wider definition of the importance of this role than just as part of the IT staff.

In the first chapter I offer five distinct patterns of the CTO position.

  • Genius - the brilliant scientist at a start-up company.
  • Administrator - part of the IT staff.
  • Advocate - customer facing service provider.
  • Director - head of the R&D labs.
  • Executive - C-suite executive pursuing new technologies that generate revenue.

From there I discussion the roles, responsibilities, and relationships that will make a CTO effective and successful.

Advice: Written on the Back of a Business Card

In 2009, I was invited to give a presentation to a group of interns at the US Army command where I was working. It seemed to me that these young minds could use some advice on becoming successful in their new careers. So I asked several people in my professional network to give me the one piece of advice that they would write on the back of their own business card and give to a fresh college graduate.

I thought I would get a dozen or so responses. I received 250 -- which looked like a book to me. So I use the "business card" idea to create a book of short advice, along with the name and position of the person who provided it. It has been hugely popular with both the seasoned people who gave the advice and the college graduates.

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Military Simulation & Serious Games

There are many books on traditional discrete event simulation. But there are few specifically on the interactive, real time, simulation that is used for military training. These are also the techniques that formed the basis of the 3D computer games that are now hugely popular.

In Military Simulation & Serious Games, I brought together a number of chapters that explore the technologies in both of these industries. It begins with an introduction to the important concepts behind simulation, including DES. But, I try to summarize this well known material in one chapter before getting into unique material on interactive simulation and gaming.

There is so much to be learned about military simulation that I hope other authors will write books specifically on this topic in the future.

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