Becoming a gamer has taken on a whole new meaning. It can even save lives.

Doctors from Singapore General Hospital (SGH) has set to work with Serious Games Asia and developed the first computer-simulated game to sharpen skills involved in resuscitating newborn babies.

Neonatal resuscitation providers in Singapore have to undergo retraining every two years. Recognising that knowledge and skills can decline four to six months after training, the game provides learners the flexibility to access the simulation programme at a computer or laptop, without the need for physical manikins or a scheduled class limited to a handful of learners at a time.

"We used the revised Singapore Neonatal Resuscitation Course (SNRC) Guidelines 2016 as the backbone of this web-based simulation game. The aim is to retrain, strengthen and assess competency of doctors, nurses, midwives, respiratory practitioners and paramedics who care for newborn infants," shared Senior Resident Physician Dr Imelda L. Ereno, of SGH's Department of Neonatal & Developmental Medicine.


The game is played by a single user taking on the team lead role, with one to three characters assisting the gamer in various realistic clinical scenarios.  

You can watch a video demonstration of the game here.

"In general, 15 percent of newborn babies require some help to start and sustain breathing.This requires the healthcare team to provide support that ranges from gentle suctioning and stimulation, breathing aid, external heart massage, to the use of medication to support heart beat and blood pressure," said Adjunct Associate Professor Yeo Cheo Lian, Senior Consultant at SGH's Department of Neonatal & Developmental Medicine.

At the end of each session, the game displays a score that can be used as an assessment tool. Performance is scored based on the player's knowledge, technical skills, appropriateness of actions taken and leadership abilities shown while interacting with other characters assisting the gamer.   

Dr Yeo and Dr Ereno are Programme Director and instructor of the SNRC, respectively. Now in its pilot stage, SGH and KK Women's and Children's Hospital plan to incorporate the game as part of their regular retraining curriculum in 2018. In the long term, the game may also be used to introduce new learners to steps in neonatal resuscitation.

The neonatal resuscitation game was recently shared at the inaugural S3 Medical Simulation Conference, as well as at the Serious Games Conference 2017 introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI) concepts for education and healthcare.

The collaborators' future plans for the game include introducing multiplayer gameplay, virtual reality to enhance realism, and customised scenarios for specific learning needs, such as intubation for doctors and oro-gastric tube insertion for nurses.