Using Gaming and Competition in Medical Education

Last week I was on an elevator at UCIMC and was surprised that out of the eight or so people on the elevator, seven of them were checking their phone. Most of the people on the elevator were residents and students. “Wouldn’t it be great if these moments of time, in the elevator, in the bathroom or waiting in line could be used productively or learning?” I thought. My fellow classmates would already argue that such apps exist from many different flashcards to UWorld questions. However, I was really curious if there is something that exists that makes learning medicine into a game. After some research, I discovered that it already does exist, but is not available to the public. The University of Alabama has created a gaming platform, Kaizen, that uses clinical questions as a game for its students and residents. Gamers are given characters, split into teams and assigned points for getting questions right. The questions are short but clinically applicable so you can do them quickly in the 30 seconds or so you are stuck in an elevator say. The platform is extremely popular amongst students and residents in UAB with participation as high as 90%. There are also stickers and communication allowed among players. Those with the highest scores get rewarded. I am awaiting this app to be released to other universities!

  1. University of Alabama at Birmingham. “Can games help train future doctors and nurses?.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2016. <>.

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