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Can video games for doctors save healthcare?

Video gaming for physicians was just one of the many innovations presented at this year’s Manova Summit. Dubbed a global summit on the future of health, it’s the brainchild of former General Mills CMO Mark Addicks and covers a wide range of topics and trends. The transfer of knowledge from one category to another of existing strategies or technologies seemed to be a theme for this year’s summit.

My personal favorite from the conference was Speakeasy Care. Imagine minute clinic meets a psychologist. For $60 you can walk in or schedule a 40-minute appointment and discuss how you are feeling with a National Board Certified Wellness Coach. A fact featured in the presentation was that it takes 10 years for someone to ask for help when experiencing a mental health issue. In a world where these issues continue to rise, this struck me as a great way to lower the barrier to trial and bring people in to get the help they need.

I also appreciated what The Big Know is doing to elevate healthcare tutorial videos. Their approach is to make healthcare information highly entertaining as well as educational. As we know in creative communications, keeping an audience is very hard to do if they are not interested or engaged. By leveraging personalities such as Andrew Zimmern, Dan Buetner and Chris Ferrell, they are developing content that feels more like it belongs on Hulu or Netflix than an over-instructed talking head educational tutorial.

Now, back to docs and video games. Imagine taking the technology and graphic detail embedded in gaming and bringing it to physician training—specifically, surgery simulation. Ok, now imagine it’s in an app you download onto your phone. That’s what Level Ex is doing. Founder Sam Glassenburg, former Lucas Arts and Microsoft technologist, uncovered a gap in physician training. Currently, physicians have to go offsite and perform surgery simulations with less than ideal graphics. Your kid’s Xbox delivers higher quality/more realistic graphics. Level Ex’s app transferred technology from the gaming world to the surgery simulation space and in doing so made physician training more thorough and more accessible.

Innovation doesn’t always mean you start from scratch. Sometimes it means looking at the same problem through a different lens. One that can help you break out of your box and think differently. This isn’t to pretend that these ideas will solve all of the issues facing healthcare, but the ideas I saw were promising and an indication that there is a lot we can and are doing.

So thanks, Mark and the Manova team. Appreciate all of the work that went into putting the show together. It was a job well done.


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