Bronchoscopy skills of medics may improve with video gaming, says study

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In a recently published study, Dr Scientific reportResearchers in Japan investigated the effects of video gaming on bronchoscopy skills among medical students and residents.

They found that bronchoscopy skills were associated with video gaming experience among participants who were new.

Study: Video gamers demonstrate superior bronchoscopy skills in novices.  Image credit: sezer66/Shutterstock.comStudy: Video gamers demonstrate superior bronchoscopy skills among novices. Image credit: sezer66/


Flexible bronchoscopy is an important procedure in respiratory care used in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. Recent advances have emerged in simulation-based training for bronchoscopy using virtual reality and robot-assisted technology.

Like video games, these technologies offer benefits by improving efficiency and reducing patient discomfort during bronchoscopy. Video game experience and bronchoscopy techniques require a general skill set including quick decision making, visual awareness, and psychomotor skills.

During bronchoscopy it is particularly evident how operators navigate the bronchial structure on a monitor and operate instruments for various tasks.

The first-person perspective and the use of forceps-like devices to access and insert specific airway areas in bronchoscopy are similar to the skills required in three-dimensional (3D) shooter games, including first-person and third-person.

Although previous studies have associated video game playing with improved performance in various medical procedures, little attention has been paid to bronchoscopy-specific skills.

Therefore, researchers in the current study aimed to fill this gap by assessing both bronchoscopy techniques and video gaming skills, providing insight into the possible correlation between video game skills and skills in bronchoscopy procedures.

Studytop is about form

The current prospective study was conducted between 2021 and 2023 at a hospital in Japan. Bronchoscopy technique and Splatoon 2 game playing skill data (using Nintendo Switch console) were compared.

In this video game, players were made to shoot paint bullets into a group to paint a field using a joystick or gyro. Exclusion criteria included participants with 1–99 bronchoscopies and those playing the game without a joystick.

Participants were classified into two main groups: an inexperienced group (medical students or residents, n = 23) and an experienced group (≥100 respiratory patients with bronchoscopy, n = 18).

The mean age of both groups was 27 years and 33 years respectively. Fifteen participants in each group were male.

These groups were further divided into gamer and non-gamer subgroups. While the gamer subgroup included individuals who played games ≥1 hour per week for ≥6 years, the non-gamer subgroup included participants who lacked gaming experience or played games that did not involve character control.

Twelve members in the inexperienced group and 10 in the experienced group were classified as gamers.

Efficiency in bronchoscopy was evaluated in relation to the duration of bronchial lumen observation, called “observation time”. On the other hand, participants’ video gaming skills were assessed in terms of “game completion time”. A shorter game completion time reflects a greater ability to complete tasks faster.

Statistical analysis used Spearman’s correlation, Fisher’s exact and Mann-Whitney U tests.

Results and discussion

In the inexperienced group, the median bronchoscopic observation time was 215 seconds, and the median game completion time was 45 seconds.

The experienced group showed a significantly shorter median bronchoscopic observation time of 103 seconds compared to the inexperienced group (P<0.001). However, the mean game completion time of the experienced group (41 seconds) was not significantly different from that of the inexperienced group.

Although bronchoscopic observation time and game completion time showed a moderate linear relationship in the inexperienced group, no relationship was observed in the experienced group.

Gamers in the inexperienced group showed significantly shorter bronchoscopic observation time and game completion time than non-gamers.

Within the experienced group, bronchoscopic observation time was not significantly different, but game completion time was significantly shorter in gamers than in non-gamers.

Limitations of the study include its single-center nature, small sample size, and potential bias due to differences in participants’ skills and aspirations within the inexperienced group. In addition, the evaluation focused only on bronchoscopy observation time, ignoring other factors such as airway collision rate and spatial examinations, possibly limiting comprehensive assessment of bronchoscopy technique efficiency.

Although the researchers recommend avoiding overreliance on gaming, due to its potentially harmful effects, they highlight that well-managed gaming experiences and training can facilitate learning that extends beyond the gaming realm.

Especially in the medical field, gamification has potential applications as techniques advance.


In conclusion, the present study reveals a link between video gaming skills and bronchoscopy technique in novices without prior bronchoscopy experience. This suggests that individuals familiar with video games may be faster at mastering bronchoscopy techniques.

These findings may contribute to refining bronchoscopy training strategies and understanding how shared skills affect efficiency in performing specific medical procedures.

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