Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Serious Games Optimizing Patients Flow

Serious Games model patient services

Via: Flexsim - Healthcare Simulation Suite

Following my prior posting Serious Games For Visualizing Any Business Process, which covers PC-based simulation software application used to model, simulate, and visualize any business process you manage, Flexsim has made available another commercial software application specifically designed for patient flow simulation.

Flexsim software has found wide application in manufacturing, logistics, and supply chain analysis, as well as in traditional business applications related to marketing, management, finance, and academic areas. It is from this vast experience that Flexsim Healthcare TM was born.

Medical facilities are among the most complex in the world. Numerous factors contribute to overall efficiency and workflow, including: patient flow, staff utilization and resource management.

Flexsim has teamed up with healthcare professionals to create a tool for modeling the complexities and nuances of healthcare management without the need for programming. You build and interact with your simulation in an easy-to-use 3D environment. Viewing your simulation in 3D gives a true understanding of your system, its interactions, and how to improve it.

Modeling Patient Services

It's well known in the field of simulation that patient service models are among the most complicated and difficult to construct. This is partly due to the amount and complexity of the data needed to define the models, partly due to the diverse services provided to patients in a healthcare setting, and partly due to the complex way in which resources are allocated when providing these services.

There is a huge motivation to optimize the utilization of hospital resources so as to cut costs and improve patient satisfaction.

Flexsim has developed a patient simulator called Flexsim Healthcare TM to specifically address the historically difficult task of simulating patient services. This new software tool has been designed specifically for non-technical healthcare personnel. In a friendly and very visual 3D environment, anyone with a general knowledge of patient flow can quickly and easily construct a realistic computer model, and immediately begin learning practical ways to improve performance as they test a number of possible scenarios.

Why Use Simulation To Improve Patient Flows – ROI Correlation

Most healthcare delivery systems can be characterized as complex and random. The more complex and random a process is, the greater the need is to employ computer-based tools to study and improve the system.

While spreadsheets perform many complex calculations, their use of average numbers to represent patient arrivals, examination and waiting times, and resource availability do not allow them to account for the randomness and interdependence that always characterize healthcare delivery systems.

Simulation, however, does allow end-users to include randomness and interdependence. As a result, patient delivery systems, such as an emergency room, surgical center, or imaging department will always benefit from simulation, where “benefit” is generally defined as serving more patients per unit of time while maintaining or even reducing costs.

Healthcare organizations that have been well managed over time are always looking for methods, people, and tools to improve what they do and how they do it. To this end, simulation may be the single most pragmatic tool to improving patient flows. In fact, because of its low cost and immediate benefits, simulation has the potential to generate a huge return on its investment.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Case For Serious Games In Heavy Industries

Serious Games space for Industrial Games

Via: Coole Immersive

Since my prior posting Serious Games To Boost Safety On Oil Rigs, Coole Immersive has been broadening Industrial Games portfolio.
Industrial Games

Heavy industries like Oil & Gas, Mining and Construction share some unique characteristics and challenges. Driven by regulatory requirements and the need to optimize productivity in a competitive marketplace, employers are increasingly striving to implement competency-based training programs to address these challenges.

According to Cool Immersive business environment "reading", the major drivers for Industrial Games adoption in this sector are as follow:There are enormous costs associated with the unnecessary repair and replacement of Service Rig equipment due to a lack of regular, proper maintenance. Developed to complement Coole Immersive’s Service Rig Training program, Service Rig Field Maintenance can help you minimize these costs.
 After first providing a foundational understanding of the many systems found on a service rig, Coole Immersive’s Service Rig Field Maintenance then builds on that foundation with carefully designed, guided maintenance procedures.

  • The changing demographic of new workers - young, video game players, 18-25 years old
  • Workers with little or no post secondary education
  • Visually oriented, experiential learners who render traditional teaching methods obsolete
  • Unique safety issues that contribute to accidents and reduced productivity
  • New workers are at high risk of incidents involving injury or equipment damage
Regulations demanding demonstrable measures to improve employee competence and workplace safety.

Using the same powerfully engrossing techniques that fuel entertainment games, Industrial Games provide learners with the ability to explore and review industrial settings in ways that minimize learning time and maximize retention and safety.

Industrial Games are changing the landscape of what is possible in the world of learning, preparing, and understanding, ensuring all students have the ability to experience and perform job activities in a safe, controlled learning environment before tackling the real world by presenting information in an easy-to-understand, multi-modal format.

Damage to costly equipment, injuries, and loss of life can be drastically reduced through the training provided by Industrial Games. After completing one of Coole Immersive's industrial training simulations, students will have the necessary knowledge to transition from a realistic training environment to the workplace without the financial and physical risks attached to on-the-job learning.

Coole Immersive's Industrial Games suite includes, among other products, SRT - Service Rig Training (object of my prior posting) and SRFM - Service Rig Field Maintenance.

SRFM - Service Rig Field Maintenance

Developed with industry subject matter experts, and using cutting edge 3D modeling, animation and gaming technology, workers are systematically presented with the proper methodology for performing maintenance procedures on a service rig. With no risk to themselves, other crewmembers or the equipment, they perform the procedure by interacting with the accurately recreated apparatus. A virtual coach looks over their shoulder to correct their errors and offer advice.

Real time content updates ensure every learner has access to the most complete, up to date information available, consistently providing your workers with exactly the procedures you expect them to perform, protecting both your equipment, and the environment.

In addition to being an excellent primary training tool for new workers being exposed to service rig equipment for the first time, Coole Immersive’s Service Rig Field Maintenance is designed to be used as an ongoing, on-site reference manual, helping ensure a consistent, company - and subject matter expert - approved approach to maintenance. As such, ideal candidates range from new hires to experienced workers, as the training program standardizes the basic processes used for equipment maintenance.

Learners don't just see maintenance being performed, they actually perform the process in a virtual environment. This gives the learner visual and tactile reinforcement of their new knowledge, resulting in a higher retention rate and a better, more efficient and competent worker.

Well-trained and well-informed workers are more confident, take more initiative, and make fewer costly mistakes. Coole Immersive’s Service Rig Field Maintenance provides an effective, consistent maintenance training solution, enabling workers to get the most out of their equipment.

Debriefing, the above products are a logical use of Serious Games technology for heavy industries:
  • Where the real-world environment is dangerous
  • Where the real-world environment is unavailable, or costly to simulate in the real world
  • Where accuracy is important and the cost of mistakes significant

About Coole Immersive, Inc.

Coole Immersive Inc., formerly known as Terris-Hill Production, is a growth-oriented, privately held software development company based in Edmonton, AB, in Canada.

Their mission is to revolutionize industrial learning through the use of innovative immersive learning systems.

Coole Immersive develops Immersive Learning Systems to provide students with a “safe and effective place to learn”. Their applications consist of a combination of video, animation, assessment processes and simulation-based games run on a hybrid web and PC or Mac based system. The process complements traditional hands-on training of front-line workers.

Cool Immersive targets learners under 35 years old, those who have grown up with the expectation of advanced technology, even in their leisure time. Internet, Cable TV, iPods and Global Positioning Systems were not around 25 years ago but now are commonplace.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Social Games: A Serious Business Opportunity

Games as social experiences to enjoy

The Top 25 Facebook Games for September 2009

Via: Inside Social Games - Interesting new companies will be created as the worlds of gaming and social networks collide.

Inside Social Games is the first blog dedicated to tracking the convergence of games and social platforms.

Inside Social Games was started by Justin Smith in April 2008 and is based in Palo Alto, California. Lead game reviewer Christopher Mack has been writing since late 2008.

They’re looking forward to tracking not only the games but also the people and companies behind them that are leading the change into this new and exciting space.

As stated by John Earner, VP Product Management at Playfish which has earned its reputation as one of the leading developers of social games for Facebook, MySpace, and the iPhone, “the ultimate goal is to change the way people play games”.

“Social games are all about the emotions and interactions friends share together”, he adds. “The most important thing for us when designing a game is allowing friends to have a fun time together. We always focus on delivering a lot of value and fun to players at every point in the process”.

Restaurant City is perhaps the best Playfish title to date. The initial idea of this social restaurant concept focused on preparation of dishes via various mini games. Playfish added the restaurant management component to make the game more social. They decided to drop the mini games and focus on the management and expressive elements of the game based on feedback from a few early builds. That aspect really added a much more fun social experience and gave more opportunity for expansion over time.

Extracts from Social Games: The Industry's New Wild West

Via: Business Exchange

Social gaming is taking advantage of the Internet's unique ability to accumulate social connections in order to encourage greater investment in what have been, to this point, very casual games.

It's the constant pace of developing, upgrading, and launching that separates social gaming from the traditional game industry. Where EA or Blizzard can spend millions of dollars on a team of hundreds, more than two years before a game hits shelves, social gaming companies can spend only weeks on a game, launch multiple betas to test new features, and adapt the game on the fly. The immense player base of these games keeps the pace viable, because there are so many avenues for monetization.

Brandon Barber, Zynga's vice president of marketing, explains that the size of the audience -- often in the millions -- means that traditional "eyeball" metrics and Internet advertising can be as important to the bottom line as the in-game sale of items. The business model has been so successful that he expects the big interactive media players to soon break into the social gaming market.

About Justin Smith (Inside Social Games Founder, Editor)

Justin Smith founded Inside Facebook, the first blog focused on tracking Facebook and the Facebook Platform for developers and marketers, in April 2006. In 2007, he wrote the Facebook Marketing Bible, the most widely referenced book on Facebook marketing today.

The Facebook Marketing Bible has been used by thousands of brands, agencies, businesses, universities, and non-profit organizations to craft their Facebook marketing strategy.

In 2008, he founded Inside Social Games, the first blog focused on tracking the convergence of games and social platforms.

Justin earned a degree in Computer Systems Engineering from Stanford University, where he was a Mayfield Fellow and a recipient of the Terman Award in Engineering.

Justin grew up in South Carolina and currently lives in Palo Alto, California.