VHA Educational Gaming Product Runner Up in International Competitions - VHA SimLEARN
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VHA Educational Gaming Product Runner Up in International Competitions

By Gerald Sonnenberg
EES Marketing and Communication

ORLANDO, Fla. – A Veterans Health Administration (VHA) health care educational gaming product was named runner up at the 6th Annual Serious Games and Virtual Environments Arcade and Showcase.

The game, called Crash Cart, provides training for staff in handling medical equipment and supplies in a standardized way in emergency situations. It placed second in the Large Company Division at the annual International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH) Jan. 17-20. 

Crash Cart was developed by the VHA Employee Education System (EES) for VHA’s Simulation Learning, Education and Research Network (SimLEARN) program, and was a featured application during IMSH. 

Crash Cart uses current evidence- and game-based research to provide effective learning opportunities to help VHA health care practitioners acquire current medical knowledge, skills and attitudes. In the game, participants interactively learn to identify, place, select and apply specific medical drugs, medications, tools, instruments and support equipment in standardized locations based on function and within individual, customizable crash carts. 

There are three specific crash cart designs: the general crash cart, the difficult airway crash cart and the malignant hyperthermia crash cart. Planned updates to the game include adding several more customizable crash carts, to meet a national need to include different VHA facilities’ individualized crash cart procedures and practices.

The application uses game design elements of rules, structured play, challenges and competition, along with visual and audio aesthetics, to immerse and motivate participants to actively use cognitive processes to solve the emergency crash cart’s various technical, pragmatic layout and functional health care problems. Crash Cart avatars also provide immediate formative feedback on a participant’s performance level, and they provide a final recorded summative score. In addition, VHA facility-specific internal leaderboard scores provide for friendly multi-player competition.

VA’s Chief Nursing Officer, Dr. Donna Gage, Ph.D., RN, NE-BC, said, “A few minutes can mean the difference between life and death, and trying to find necessary equipment and medications in an unfamiliar crash cart can cost valuable minutes. The Crash Cart simulation game offers nurses a safe, on-demand way to become familiar with emergency equipment and medications to improve the timeliness, accuracy and consistency of emergency response and improve the survival rates of our Veterans.”

Educational gaming and simulation training plays a key role in the advancement of the knowledge, skill and technique of our medical providers to improve the care of our Veteran patients,” said Jim Warner, VHA Chief Learning Officer. “Improving the care we provide to those Veterans is the sole focus of every educational tool we develop.” 

The IMSH event in San Diego, California brought together more than 2,500 health care simulation educators, technicians and researchers from around the world who participated in more than 300 educational sessions including workshops, presentations, debates and expert panels. It was also the second such event where Crash Cart placed high on an international stage. In December, the educational tool was a finalist at the 2015 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) Serious Games Showcase and Challenge held in Orlando. I/ITSEC is described as the largest simulation-focused conference in the world. 

“I am grateful on behalf of the team for recognition of excellence from two international professional organizations and look forward to completing more innovative products for the educational benefit of those who serve Veterans,” said Leslie Dubow, EES associate director for Educational Gaming.

Educational Gaming provides employee engagement opportunities with new educational products using gaming technology. The Crash Cart game is available for training by VHA staff through the VA Intranet.







For more information about SimLEARN, please visit http://www.simlearn.va.gov