Wanted: More serious games in healthcare

A group presents their game The Rehab at the opening ceremony of the Serious Games Conference 2015 on August 12, 2015.
A group presents their game The Rehab at the opening ceremony of the Serious Games Conference 2015 on August 12, 2015. PHOTO: NATIONAL HEALTHCARE GROUP

SINGAPORE - Doctors, nurses and patients could soon learn how to manage illnesses and conditions not through books or lectures, but though video games.

These games - serious games in tech speak - are simulations of real-world events. For example, a serious game could simulate a patient having chest pains, and a nurse playing the game will have to choose the right course of action.

More of these games could soon be in the works, with Monday's launch of the inaugural Health Innovation Technology (HIT) Challenge, a competition to develop serious games in the area of healthcare.

The challenge is organised by the National Healthcare Group (NHG), Serious Games Association (SGA) and Infocomm Development Authority.

It is open to all healthcare organisations, and all submissions have to be made by April 18. Shortlisted teams will be given three months and the technical support to develop a prototype, before two rounds of presentation in August and September. The top three teams will receive prize money of between $1,000 and $3,000.

The competition builds on last year's NHG-SGA Game Jam, which explored how serious games with interactive technology can improve patient care.

Four applications from that Game Jam have been developed into prototypes, and have been pilot tested from January this year until now.

They include Health Promotion, a game designed by the NHG Health Promotion department and local game developer Mojocat to educate the public on healthier lifestyle choices; and Gear Up, a game designed by Tan Tock Seng Hospital, Life Data Solutions and Imaginary SRL to teach healthcare providers about the right protective gear to wear in different situations.

lting@sph.com.sg