SIMS i3 (Inspire, Innovate and Incubate) Hub leverages the latest immersive technologies in serious games to transform training in healthcare.

SINGAPORE, 18 January 2022 – Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Health & Ministry of Manpower, unveiled the new SingHealth Duke-NUS Institute of Medical Simulation (SIMS) i3 Hub today.

Leveraging Serious Games and Simulation in Healthcare Education

The SIMS i3 Hub is a healthcare simulation training facility which houses a wide array of Extended Reality (XR) solutions and cutting-edge gaming equipment to hone the clinical skills and competencies of healthcare professionals.

Evolution in learner demographics and digital literacy, coupled with the need to facilitate remote and virtual learning amidst the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, has given fresh relevance to serious games and simulation in healthcare education.

“A key benefit of incorporating serious games in healthcare training is the ability to simulate challenging scenarios for learners to practise critical thinking, decision making and hone practical skills in a safe learning environment. By translating complex topics into immersive stories that draw on the learner’s emotional, cognitive and social motivations, serious games fuel high levels of engagement through immersive game play. This results in prolonged retention of knowledge,” said Professor Chan Choong Meng, Group Chief Education Officer, SingHealth.

Enhancing patient care through inter-professional learning

Through the i3 Hub, SIMS aims to inspire collaborations and innovations in healthcare simulation by bringing together like-minded healthcare professionals, while fostering the incubation of new ideas to enhance patient safety. The name i3 reflects the focus on these three key areas: Inspire, Innovate, Incubate.

The SIMS i3 Hub offers valuable opportunities to advance inter-professional collaborations, across domains and specialties, to foster more cohesive healthcare teams. By partnering healthcare educators from different professions, the SIMS i3 Hub offers the platform to deepen inter-professional learning and maximise the potential of gamification in healthcare training.

“Gamification techniques leverage individuals’ natural inclinations towards mastery, competition and achievement in engaging and interactive ways. With rapid technological advances, the application of serious games across different healthcare settings has also increased exponentially. The games in the SIMS i3 Hub are developed by SingHealth educators who are also experienced healthcare professionals. Each customised game, therefore, incorporates scenarios that are developed from rich personal insights, extensive clinical know-how and deep expertise that aim to expose and immerse learners to real life situations that they may face in the course of their career,” said Professor Fatimah Lateef, SIMS Co-Director (SingHealth).

Transforming the Future of Healthcare Education

Over the last two years, SingHealth has successfully tapped on grants such as the iNnovative Learning Grant from SkillsFuture Singapore, to support healthcare educators in the development of serious games to enhance the learning experience and improve learning outcomes.

To date, SIMS has a comprehensive library of serious games, developed in-house, that covers a wide range of skills, from proper dispensing of medicines in the pharmacy to responding in a disaster as part of decontamination teams, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) safety, among others.

“Serious games empower me to take greater ownership of my learning and skills upgrading journey. Since gameplay can be done individually, I have the flexibility to train at my own time, without having to compromise or re-schedule my patient care commitments. These games also allow me to practise my skills repeatedly, receive real-time feedback, refine techniques and chart my progress. When we train as a team, we are able to achieve better outcomes within a shorter period of time,” said Teo Zi En, Pharmacy Technician at Singapore General Hospital’s Inpatient Pharmacy.

The Basic Cardiac Life Support (BCLS) game, developed by the SingHealth Alice Lee Institute of Advanced Nursing, aims to reduce the duration of in-person training by 25 per cent. The game will also be integrated as part of the official BCLS certification training across SingHealth in 2022, and is estimated to train up to 5,000 healthcare professionals in a year.

To support the proliferation of serious games in healthcare education, SIMS has collaborated with Serious Games Asia to develop the Healthcare-Training and Assessment Hosting Platform (Health-TAP). This cloud-based software is a one-stop integrated platform that can host serious games for up to 5,000 players at any one time. The platform also collates data across the games in a central repository, which will offer healthcare educators useful insights, in future, into learning gaps and to spark new ideas for the development of more games.