A video game has been designed at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine to detect drug abuse in patients.

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Overdoses of drugs can cause death. After a large number of deaths happened in 2009, doctors were confused whom to prescribe what level of drug dose. Since then, health care professionals were searching for better ways to distinguish patients who followed the prescription according to the prescribed, and who didn’t. Seems their worries are over. At Northwestern Memorial Hospital, the doctors are training themselves with a latest technology in order to better recognize the signs of addiction. A video game has been designed based on the research of Dr. Michael M. Fleming of Northwestern University Feingberg School of Medicine that utilizes the same technology used to train FBI agents in interrogation tactics – a combination of self-disclosure and non-verbal cues. With the help of the video game, doctors can identify signs of addiction easily in their patients.


Anti-drugs, Image Credit : Trif/Shutterstock

The game uses an actor’s voice to simulate hypothetical conversations with patients. The program generates responses based on the doctor’s questions, and the doctor must identify indicators of possible drug addiction or abuse, based on the simulated patient appearing on the screen in front of them. The simulated dialogues are recorded by Dr. Fleming when he interviewed more than 1,000 s drug patients.

Dr. Dale E. Olsen who is a former professor of engineering at Johns Hopkins University and has a Ph.D. in statistics has developed the software of the video game. Be noted that, he is the founder and president of Simmersion, a company that has created simulation training programs for the F.B.I. He mentioned that the game could cost users about $50 per hour and is designed to be used for 10 sessions of 15 to 20 minutes each.

Dr. Fleming said, “This isn’t something medical students have traditionally been trained for. These are hard conversations to have”. Dr. Olsen

Olsen said that the game encourages doctors to adopt a more collaborative and less accusatory approach with patients, with the end goal to build rapport with patients. According to the New York Times, the web-based interactive video game will soon be available online for a fee to medical schools and health care providers, includes about 2,000 statements by the patient, ranging in tone from charming to irate. Doctor will be able to choose from 1,500 questions and responses, selecting one from five to seven options that appear on the screen when it is time to speak to the patient.

Hope so the video game will play a vital role and help the doctor to detect the drug related matters in patients easily and provide accurate result.

Source : New York Times

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