News Feature | March 17, 2014

Gaming App Helps Docs Retain Knowledge

Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

Gaming App Helps Docs

App uses games and quizzes to test doctors’ knowledge, keeps clinicians current on healthcare practices

Harvard Medical School and Qstream have combined to create an app which helps doctors retain information and keep current on the latest healthcare practices. According to mHealth News, quick question and answer challenges that take three to five minutes are used to reinforce on-the-job behaviors, resulting in an up to 170 percent increase in knowledge retention.

"It's Jeopardy for docs," said Duncan Lennox, Qstream’s co-founder and CEO. "We've come to the realization that the way we've typically taught things isn't really effective. That isn't how memories are formed."

The app provides quizzes on the user’s mobile devices or computer. When the quiz is finished, a score is tabulated and the quiz is modified (once a question is answered correctly twice it's replaced) for the next session.

“Despite the high quality of healthcare education being delivered today, traditional formats are not always conducive to the way that people actually store information critical to job performance,” said Dr. B. Price Kerfoot, Associate Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School and Qstream co-founder in a press release. “Qstream’s approach embraces a ‘spaced delivery’ methodology clinically proven to increase retention and durably change on-the-job behaviors.”

Hospital officials report 78 percent of staff members who tried Qstream quizzes said they were “enjoyable” or “extremely enjoyable.” Lennox said he's seeing roughly 94 percent compliance among Qstream users. It’s helping doctors retain "educational material that is fairly mundane, that people tend to think they know but really don't."

New developments to the app include competitor leaderboards, new reporting for performance stats, and social collaboration.