Harvard Medical School startup, Qstream, has developed an mHealth gaming platform that is helping healthcare staff stay up-to-date with the latest protocols.

The platform, which can be accessed via any internet-enabled device, was originally intended for academic medical centres to train future clinicians through quizzes aimed at improving knowledge retention and proficiency.

The quizzes can be tailor-made around certain issues, from patient engagement to cardiac care guidelines, and sent out to targeted staff members, including residents, doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers.

The quiz is then administered several times over the course of a week or two, and questions are only retired if they’re answered correctly several times in a row.

According to Qstream’s Healthcare Practice Lead, Mary Hallice, the quizzes on the Qstream platform have been used to tackle issues like unnecessary cancer screenings, high blood pressure and patient pain ratings.

“Interval reinforcement is a proven way to increase knowledge retention. In the medical field where clinicians must take in and retain a lot of information, a reinforcement method that’s engaging and conveniently available has tremendous benefits to both learning and on-the-job performance,” Hallice told mHealthIntelligence.com.

Qstream believes their platform’s effectiveness is a result of its gaming format as well as its repetitive pattern. And because clinicians are generally competitive by nature, they are drawn not only to challenges but also to games that pit them against other clinicians or departments.

This concept was recently verified in a Qstream platform-based study conducted by Boston’s Partners Healthcare, Dana-Farber Cancer Center and researchers at the University of Sydney.  In a recent edition of the Journal of Clinical Pathways they noted that a “Cancer Cup Challenge,” in which junior doctors in the US, Denmark and Australia were quizzed on oncology-specific scenarios, improved patient safety and quality improvement training.

The platform is currently being used in 14 of the world’s top 15 pharma companies, seven of the top 10 medical device companies and an array of health systems. The US Department of Veterans Affairs is also reportedly developing quizzes for its VA hospital nurses, among other departments.

Hallice expects the Qstream platform to be used in more clinical settings in the future.

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