By: Waqaar Khawar

A recent study showed that high school and college age gamers perform better on a virtual surgery simulator than current resident physicians.

High school students that played two hours of video games daily and college students that played four hours daily were selected to participate in the study.

Their performances were compared to those of medical residents from the University of Texas.

Although the results were close, the training doctors performed worse than both groups of gamers. The high school students can brag that they were the “winners” with the college students only slightly behind.

Participants in the study were rated on 20 different factors that are used in both robotic surgery and video games. Hand-eye coordination and correct level of tension on the controls were among the factors tested.

Other areas were tested with the system to evaluate cognitive skills; an area in which the doctors obviously performed better.

The research was done in an effort to better design ways to train the next generation of doctors. With new surgical technology involving more and more robotics, this is an area in medical training that has not been explored until recently.

So would you trust a highschooler to perform robotic surgery more than a Physician in training? Of course not. If you look at the metrics of the study most of it was based on mechanical skills, not how to actually perform a surgery, or more importantly, what to cut. What the study really shows is how having a history of gaming probably helps lessen the learning time for Physicians training with robotic surgery.

The iMedicalApps team has previously reported on video game technology and its usage in the operating room. We reported on a hack of Microsoft’s Kinect to allow surgeons to use a touchless interface to view and manipulate images.

Source: CBS Atlanta

Iltifat Husain MD contributed to this report