Me, A Doc!

Period of Performance: 07/01/2012 - 06/30/2013

$492K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Notabook Publishing, Inc.
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Principal Investigator

Abstract

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Me, A Doc! is a serious medical diagnosis role-playing simulator program in a video game interface that aims to improve high school and college student learning about the biology of disease in a way that fosters critical thinking and reduces the achievement gap often seen with minority or disadvantaged students - goals of the NIH. Players assume the role of a doctor who takes histories, makes diagnoses, and, ultimately, recommends treatments. In each case, players ask questions to learn symptoms, do exams to obtain signs, and order laboratory tests. Using evidence-based inquiry in a virtual library, the player reaches a diagnosis, answers a series of Socratic feedback learning questions that clarify and stimulate thinking, and then, during an epilogue, learns the outcome for each case. The approach, which partners library inquiry, evidence-based reasoning, literacy scaffolding, and feedback learning, is designed to educate high school students, undergraduate students, and others contemplating a health professions career about the diagnosis of disease and medically related biology. A prototype of Me, A Doc! was developed during Phase I and evaluation showed that students warmly welcomed the program, used evidence-based reasoning to sort through complex information and arrive at a diagnosis, and learned about medical science during the process. Aims for Phase II are: (1) improve the program infrastructure, expand program capabilities, and manage new extensions;(2) develop a prioritized list of chief complaints associated with common diseases, and create supporting library files and definitions;(3) develop new cases from these disease-related files;(4) monitor development of the resulting cases with focus groups and conduct a controlled evaluation;and (5) evaluate commercialization strategies, identify and develop partnership arrangements for marketing and distribution to schools and colleges, and design a marketing and dissemination campaign for licensing individual use. Evaluation with 600 students (high school and college) in class and working individually outside of class will involve two pre-tests to assess the effect of test-taking on knowledge gain and a post test to assess the effect of the program on knowledge gain, attitude, interest, and motivation. Prior results with a similar approach suggest that Me, A Doc! will result in knowledge gain, promote critical thinking, and reduce the achievement gap seen too often in the performance of students differing in race/ethnicity, educational background, and socioeconomics - all while generating strong student appreciation and support.