Online Educational Game Improved Clinicians’ Hypertension Knowledge and Patient Outcomes

Dr. Price Kerfoot MD, EdM Rabkin Fellow in Medical Education Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical Interview with:
Dr. Price Kerfoot MD, EdM
Rabkin Fellow in Medical Education
Associate Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School


MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Kerfoot:
(1) An online spaced education game improved clinicians’ knowledge of hypertension intensification and generated a modest but significant improvement in time to blood pressure target among their patients with hypertension.
(2) As a method to increase clinicians’ long-term knowledge, the spaced education game was significantly more effective than providing the identical content via a traditional method (online posting with e-mail reminders).

MedicalResearch:  Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Kerfoot: Given that online spaced education has been shown in randomized trials to
improve knowledge acquisition, boost learning retention for up to 2 years,
and durably improve clinical behavior, it is not unexpected that the
integration of game mechanics into this methodology could improve the
health measures of their patients.

MedicalResearch:  What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Kerfoot: This study is the first to demonstrate that an online educational game
among medical professionals can improve the health measures of their
patients. Our findings add to the growing evidence that educational games
may be effective tools to engage health professionals, boost learning,
optimize practice patterns, and improve patient outcomes.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Kerfoot: Future efforts should focus on determining how to most effectively
integrate game mechanics into the education of health professionals for the
benefit of their patients.

MedicalResearch:  How can clinicians enroll in the spaced education game?
Dr. Kerfoot: Anyone can enroll in the spaced education game for free at Qstream
(, a start-up company launched by Harvard to
develop and disseminate the spaced education methodology outside of its


Circulation: Quality and Outcomes Journal Report
An Online Spaced-Education Game Among Clinicians Improves Their Patients’
Time to Blood Pressure Control A Randomized Controlled Trial

B. Price Kerfoot et al.  Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes, May 2014 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.113.000814

Last Updated on May 21, 2014 by Marie Benz MD FAAD