UTHSC Startup Launches First Product

In an effort to better engage her students in a post-clinical conference, Dr. Hallie Bensinger, a University of Tennessee Health Science Center advanced practice nurse and instructor, found herself strolling through the aisles of a school supply store on Easter weekend of 2010 in hopes of finding fake money to hand out in a Jeopardy-style PowerPoint lecture she was preparing. What she found instead were dice that when rolled formed stories or sentences, and just like that, the idea for "What Would Socrates Think?" came into being.

"What Would Socrates Think?" is a critical thinking game designed to challenge students with unpredictable and constantly changing patient case scenarios. The game requires students to think through problems, accounting for the patient’s pathophysiology, pharmacology, labs, vital signs, chief complaint and changing situation in order to win award cards. An instructor facilitates game play by encouraging questions and discussion.

"You have to really pull from what you know and think on your feet. The game presents a variety of unpredictable patient scenarios just like you see on the floor," Bensinger said. "I’ve personally used it with more than 100 students, and the response has been great."

The game was first used in a pilot study among Bensinger’s students at UTHSC, where it received positive feedback, averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars in all categories measured by student questionnaires. It also received positive feedback from students in a pilot study at Union University School of Nursing, and it is currently undergoing a larger pilot study within Methodist Le Bonheur’s nurse residency program.

In 2012, Bensinger decided to take what she’d developed in the classroom and turn it into a business. She founded LifeCareSim, a startup company dedicated to developing educational games that can be used throughout curriculums to help students master the art of nursing and stimulate critical thinking. Bensinger licensed "What Would Socrates Think?" from the UT Research Foundation (UTRF), making it LifeCareSim’s first product. More products geared towards different courses are in the prototype stage.

"It's been thrilling to watch Hallie successfully embrace a new role as entrepreneur and startup founder, and I'm excited to see LifeCareSim bring their first product to market," said Richard Magid, vice president of UTRF. "We think that this is a company that can rapidly have a positive impact on how critical thinking skills are taught by medical educators."

"What Would Socrates Think?" became available for order on Nov. 22, 2013 and is currently available for purchase at the introductory presale price of $499.

LifeCareSim also is developing another game called "The Call Light Game" that can be combined with low fidelity mannequins in a nursing lab and used in conjunction with "What Would Socrates Think?" to simulate a real nursing floor. This product can be used throughout curriculums to build critical-thinking skills. This product will be presented in January at the 14th Annual International Meeting on Simulation in Healthcare (IMSH 2014) in San Francisco.

For more information on "What Would Socrates Think?" and other games in development, visit lifecaresim.com.