Impact of Video Game Cross-Training on Learning Bronchoscopy. A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial

ATS Sch. 2020 Apr 13;1(2):134-144. doi: 10.34197/ats-scholar.2019-0015OC.


Background: Video game playing requires many of the same skill sets as medical procedures such as bronchoscopy. These include visual-spatial awareness, rapid decision making, and psychomotor skills. The role of video game cross-training on learning bronchoscopy is unknown. Objective: We studied the association of baseline video gaming experience with, and the impact of short-term video game playing on, visual-spatial awareness and acquisition of basic bronchoscopic skills among medical trainees. Methods: Bronchoscopy-naive medical trainees underwent formal didactic and hands-on instruction on basic bronchoscopy, along with a baseline assessment measuring bronchoscopic and visual-spatial skills. Half of the subjects were subsequently randomized to playing a videogame (Rocket League) for 8 weeks. All participants returned at 4 weeks for a refresher course and at 8 weeks for a final assessment. Results: Thirty subjects completed the study, 16 of them in the intervention arm who all met the minimum video game playing time requirement. At baseline, video game players had significantly lower airway collision rates (6.82 collisions/min vs. 11.64 collisions/min; P = 0.02) and higher scores on the Purdue Visual Spatial Test: Visualization of Rotations test (27.5 vs. 23.54; P = 0.04). At completion, the intervention group had no significant differences in airway collisions, bronchoscopy time, or Bronchoscopy Skills and Tasks Assessment Tool scores. There was moderate correlation between airway collision rate and mean Purdue Visual Spatial Test: Visualization of Rotations score (Spearman's rho, -0.59; P < 0.001). Conclusion: At baseline, learners with former video game-playing experience have higher visual-spatial awareness and fewer airway collisions. The impact of video game playing as an aid to simulation-based bronchoscopic education is uncertain.

Keywords: bronchoscopy; simulation; video game.