An article in the New York Times last Friday reported on a new video game designed to help doctors to determine if their patients are truly in need of prescription painkillers, or if they might be faking. The game, currently in its final testing phase, was developed by former John Hopkins University engineering professor Dale E. Olsen, and is part of an effort to help doctors fight prescription drug abuse.
The game, which simulates a real life doctor/patient situation with dialogue drawn from the research of Dr. Michael F. Fleming at Northwestern University, is based on technology used by the F.B.I. to train operatives in interrogation techniques. It teaches the physicians to look for both verbal and non-verbal signs of drug abuse. In an interview with the Times, Dr. Fleming said, “This isn’t something medical students have traditionally been trained for, these are hard conversations to have.”
The web-based game will soon be available online for a fee to medical schools and other health care providers. It’s estimated to cost roughly $50 per hour, and is designed to be played in ten sessions of 15-20 minutes each.