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Open Access Research article

Support for and aspects of use of educational games in family medicine and internal medicine residency programs in the US: a survey

Elie A Akl123*, Sameer Gunukula2, Reem Mustafa1, Mark C Wilson4, Andrew Symons2, Amir Moheet5 and Holger J Schünemann3

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA

2 Department of Family Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY, USA

3 Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada

4 Department of Internal medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA

5 Department of Medicine, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA

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BMC Medical Education 2010, 10:26  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-26

Published: 25 March 2010

Abstract

Background

The evidence supporting the effectiveness of educational games in graduate medical education is limited. Anecdotal reports suggest their popularity in that setting. The objective of this study was to explore the support for and the different aspects of use of educational games in family medicine and internal medicine residency programs in the United States.

Methods

We conducted a survey of family medicine and internal medicine residency program directors in the United States. The questionnaire asked the program directors whether they supported the use of educational games, their actual use of games, and the type of games being used and the purpose of that use.

Results

Of 434 responding program directors (52% response rate), 92% were in support of the use of games as an educational strategy, and 80% reported already using them in their programs. Jeopardy like games were the most frequently used games (78%). The use of games was equally popular in family medicine and internal medicine residency programs and popularity was inversely associated with more than 75% of residents in the program being International Medical Graduates. The percentage of program directors who reported using educational games as teaching tools, review tools, and evaluation tools were 62%, 47%, and 4% respectively.

Conclusions

Given a widespread use of educational games in the training of medical residents, in spite of limited evidence for efficacy, further evaluation of the best approaches to education games should be explored.