Today I got a press release about something called Disaster Hero. From the release: "Video game developer and publisher Legacy Interactive® today announced a contract with the American College of Emergency Physicians to develop a game designed to teach children and their families how to prepare for all types of hazards or emergencies. This project is funded by a grant (2008-GT-T8-K028) from the Department of Homeland Security." (Aside: Interesting form of nontraditional commercial support!) I could easily see another version of this game being developed for healthcare providers and emergency care workers as well.
It reminded me of a session on games at GAME (which sounds funny now that I think about it!) Tyson Greer, CEO of Ambient Insight, gave a very cool session on mobile applications for healthcare learning. I wish I could link to her presentation, but I don't think it's posted yet. She talked about how healthcare is leading the mobile learning evolution because of what she called a "perfect storm": a large and growing buyer demographic, powerful Internet-connected convergent devices, new mobile learning development tools and delivery platforms--4,800 apps have already been developed for health, fitness, and medical use--and an explosion of new learning content apps and mass-market content distribution channels. Oh yeah, and the growth in wireless broadband.
And some of those apps are pretty cool. She mentioned things like Active Ingredient, where you create a world based on what the heart monitor you're wearing says (if it's good, you walk down a pretty path; not so good, not so pretty). Another very cool sounding game that's more physician-focused was Healing Blade ("Are you an Apothecary Healer or a Lord of Pestilence? This is the question posed by Healing Blade, a table-top card battle game designed by two physicians that combines sorcery and creatures with a real-world knowledge of infectious diseases and therapeutics.") She also mentioned apps developed by MedPage Today that teaches docs how to discuss with patients all the health-related news they're hearing about on TV and in the papers (and on Twitter, etc., etc.). And she said there are mobile learning products aimed at healthcare licensing exam prep.
As Greer said, "Learning can be fun. Learning in an engaging environment works." I think we're going to be seeing a lot more of it.