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Gaming Health Care Breakthroughs

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By Allan Holmes September 7, 2010

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Playing games to generate insights into a problem so you can create innovative solutions is nothing terribly new, but it has now reached into the health care community. The federal government has used gaming to develop ways to react to fictional cyberattacks.

This fall, the Myelin Repair Foundation, a research group, will host two real-time online games for university scientists, business leaders, health care innovators, research and development professionals, government regulators, entrepreneurs, patients and the public to discuss the barriers that slow the pace of medical research and how that could be changed.

The first game will be held on Oct. 7, and participants -- as many as 600 -- will be given this scenario: A deadly disease has infected as many as 100 million people in the United States. Leaders in Washington are meeting to discuss how to address the outbreak. Participants are will discuss how to react to the deadly disease. More on the scenario.

"The current model used for developing effective, life-saving disease treatments is not keeping pace with scientific discovery," Nancy Barrand, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Pioneer Portfolio said in a prepared statement. "Gaming is the perfect tool to help foster the type of unconventional thinking that is necessary to create radical change in health care and accelerate the speed at which treatments are delivered."

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