Boston’s Top Teaching Hospitals Compete on ECG Skills Using Qstream Mobile, Game-Based Platform

29th April 2014

“The ECG Challenge” Pits Over 700 Residents Against Each Other Using Local Firm’s Mobile Software to Sharpen Their ECG Interpretation Skills as Teams Vie to Top Leaderboards

BURLINGTON MA (April 29, 2014) – Qstream today announced that its mobile software is the centerpiece of a new, multi-hospital program for sharpening ECG interpretation skills in a fun and effective, game-based approach. As part of the “ECG Challenge, ” more than 700 residents in internal and emergency medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Mass General, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Boston Medical Center receive short, challenge scenarios on their mobile devices each week and compete against their peers at other institutions to strengthen their ECG diagnostic skills. The competition is designed to make clinical practice learning quick, easy and fun for residents with heavy work demands, while helping hospitals improve patients’ health outcomes.

Developed at Harvard Medical School and the Veterans Affairs (VA) Boston Healthcare System, and commercialized for use across a range of industries by Burlington-based Qstream, Inc., the approach has been validated in randomized trials to boost retention by 170% and change clinical practice patterns to improve patient outcomes in just minutes a day.

For the “ECG Challenge, ” residents were assigned anonymous screen names comprised of an adjective and an animal name, like “Swanky Turtle” and “Vigorous Hamster” and receive “Qstreams” or question streams several times a week on their smartphone or tablet. Based on how they respond, the question is re-sent over differing spaced intervals of time in order to make sure their ECG interpretation skills are progressively strengthened. If a question is answered correctly twice in a row, it is retired. Points are awarded for correct answers and for retiring a question, which accumulate to the institution’s total and are posted to the leaderboard.

The clinical scenarios and content in the ECG Challenge were developed by cardiologist Dr. Philip Podrid, Professor of Medicine, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics at Boston University School of Medicine and Associate Chief of Cardiology at the VA Boston Healthcare System. The ECG Challenge was extensively piloted at the VA before being deployed at the Boston teaching institutions in late March. The program will run until early June, pause for mid-summer as the new class of residents arrives in Boston, and re-start in the autumn with an expanded roster of top-tier residency programs.

“I cast a huge vote of confidence for this, ” said Dr. Mark Tuttle, a resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center who is participating in the ECG Challenge. “I have found Qstream to be really useful. Not that inter-institutional competition should drive us, but it is so cool when we’re beating the other hospitals in the standings.  I am ‘Irresistible Salmon’. Who is ‘Jazzy Chicken’?  Whoever it is, they’re a legend!”