Free video game update helps doctors prepare for COVID-19 patients

Level Ex updated its Airway Ex and Pulm Ex medical education games with free levels that simulate COVID-19 care.
By Dave Muoio
01:25 pm
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Medical-training video game-maker Level Ex has added new levels to two of its mobile games that are designed to help providers practice for challenged COVID-19 patient scenarios.

The new additions are available as a free update to the company's Airway Ex and Pulm Ex games, and were developed using support from a Johnson & Johnson Institute educational grant.

To build them, the company said that it consulted pulmonary medicine, critical care, cardiology, anesthesiology and emergency medicine physicians who have encountered a large number of patients with COVID-19. In addition, the company drew from clinical guidelines and other published recommendations from sources such as the CDC, WHO\, and the Society of Critical Care Medicine.

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The levels present players with medical scenarios and provide immediate feedback on whether their decisions are in line with recommended care. In this case, that includes a level that has players asking questions and conducting tests to determine whether or not a hypothetical patient has a true COVID-19 diagnosis, and another level that focuses on intubation and appropriately handling compromised airways.

The company said that it will continue to develop new levels focused on COVID-19 treatment, management and comorbidities beyond these initial offerings.

WHY IT MATTERS

COVID-19 is now responsible for well over 6 million cases worldwide. But while hard-hit regions may have already seen a large volume of cases, others are just starting to see the disease take hold in their communities.

Level Ex's new levels aim to appeal to the latter group, providing an active, hands-on education tool with which clinicians can prepare for the emerging disease.

“Healthcare providers across specialties are mobilizing to assist with the pandemic, and they may not be totally prepared or have limited critical care experience,” Dr. Eric Gantwerker, VP and medical director at Level Ex, said in a statement. “Level Ex’s new COVID-19 levels grant physicians access to ‘need-to-know’ information quickly as they are thrust into new roles. Learning inside of a game means that they can actively engage with the material and commit it to memory."

THE LARGER TREND

Level Ex's free offering falls in line with its full repertoire of medical-education and skills-training video games, which also include titles focused on gastroenterology and cardiology. The startup boasts a workforce hailing both from medicine and the video game entertainment industry. Last summer it kicked off a project with NASA that had Level Ex building virtual simulations of health scenarios astronauts might face during spaceflight.

The medical video game-maker is far from the only tech company looking to address COVID-19. Among recent examples of the industry's multitude of projects are wearable-driven early-detection algorithms, contact-tracing APIs and virtual reality-enabled remote care.

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