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As reported in Seattle Post-Intelligencer...Thanks to video-game technology, some creepily realistic rubber skin, fake organs, mannequins and other simulation devices (including a full-scale fake operating room), budding surgeons at the UW now test their skills in the virtual world. More important from a patient's perspective, the UW is increasingly moving toward requiring all medical, nursing, pharmacology students and others to master such simulated realities at UW's Institute for Simulation and Interprofessional Studies.

An increasing number of studies in medical journals (with the texts referring to video games "Super Monkey Ball" or "Star Wars Revenge"), he noted, show that error rates and operating times can be significantly reduced when surgeons practice their skills in virtual reality before heading into the operating room.

The Department of Defense has awarded a $4.4 million grant to the institute aimed at this, and two philanthropies, the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation and the Hearst Foundation, have donated $990,000 and $250,000 to the UW's goal of using simulation to stimulate teamwork in health care.

"Simulation gives us the permission to fail," said Dr. Richard Satava, a UW professor of surgery, institute member and one of the Army's top advisers on medical matters...

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