Hospital Life is just a game - a new interactive board game

THREE budding inventors from NHS Borders have combined their clinical knowledge with creative spark to develop a board game that could also be used as a vital tool for training and helping to improve NHS care.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 16th June 2010, 5:06 pm

Hospital LifeTM is an interactive hospital simulation game that gives those working in the medical profession an insight into how decisions taken can impact on patients and colleagues.

It is the brainchild of NHS Borders nursing staff members Kim Smith, Erica Reid and Jane McIver who recognised the benefits that an interactive resource could have on training healthcare staff and so set about developing their own board game.

The result is a workshop with realistic patient scenarios within a nine ward hospital setting.

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Patient flow is managed by a team of players who take on specific roles within the hospital setting. By using their experience and training, the team of players work through a challenging day in the hospital; provoking discussion on the effectiveness of their team and of the system.

The aim of Hospital Life is to provide an engaging, entertaining and reflective learning resource which provides staff with useful training that will help them in their daily roles. The roles include those of managers and clinical staff and players are encouraged to take on roles of other health care staff to help them understand the roles and challenges their colleagues face.

Kim Smith, one of the inventors behind the project,said "We developed Hospital Life as we wanted to create an interactive learning resource which was also fun to use. Our aim was to encourage open relaxed discussions, scenario role play, personnel development, awareness of work environment and empowerment to make positive changes.

Scottish Health Innovations Ltd (SHIL), the organisation that helps NHS Scotland develop new products, are on board and the NHS Borders staff also gained the support of the Scottish Government improvement support team who are keen to see Hospital Life rolled out across NHS Scotland.

Sandy Allan, chief executive at SHIL, said: "We were delighted to work with NHS Borders to develop Hospital Life. Hospital Life provides a novel way for staff to appreciate the roles of their colleagues and the impact of their decisions on patient care.

"Everyone employed in healthcare, from those working in the front-line to managers based in office jobs, could benefit from the product. We hope that the work of the inventors in this situation will inspire others to come forward with their own bright ideas."

Interactive games specialists Focus Games are working on manufacturing the game, and founding member Melvin Bell said: "We are delighted to be working with SHIL and Borders NHS to commercialise Hospital Life. It is a tried and tested resource that deserves a much wider audience because the issues it explores are so important to the NHS and to patients."

Hospital Life is being launched this month and had its first public airing at an NHS Scotland event earlier this week.