A few years ago I met Sir Alfred Cuschieri, the pioneer of keyhole surgery. He explained how surgeons were both curing and killing machines. In the past the brightest medical students became surgeons, despite the fact that they were less likely to have the requisite manual dexterity for the job. He had designed a training simulator and found that the trainer could actually predict how good a keyhole surgeon would be on the job. This led to the training simulator being used as an assessor.
Video gaming makes better surgeons
A new study from the Beth Israel Medical Centre in New York has shown that surgeons who play video games at least 3 hours a week made 37% less errors, were 27% faster and scored 42% higher than those who had never played these games. In fact there was a direct correlation between assessed skills in gaming and laparoscopic surgery. The very best game players made 47% less errors, were 39% faster and scored 41% better overall than those in the bottom third. Impressive improvements.
Stephen Johnson’s book Everything Bad is Good for You, pointed the way for further research on video games and human activities. We are now seeing some fledgling research that shows positive results.