BACKGROUND: Serious games are being used to train specific technical skills in medicine, and most research has been done for surgical skills. It is not known if these games improve technical skills in real life as most games have not been completely validated.
OBJECTIVE: This scoping review aimed to evaluate the current use of serious games for improving technical skills in medicine and to determine their current validation state using a validation framework specifically designed for serious games.
METHODS: We used the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews (PRISMA-ScR) guidelines. A multidatabase search strategy was adopted, after which a total of 17 publications were included in this review.
RESULTS: These 17 publications described five different serious games for improving technical skills. We discuss these games in detail and report about their current validation status. Only one game was almost fully validated. We also discuss the different frameworks that can be used for validation of serious games.
CONCLUSIONS: Serious games are not extensively used for improving technical skills in medicine, although they may represent an attractive alternative way of learning. The validation of these games is mostly incomplete. Additionally, several frameworks for validation exist, but it is unknown which one is the best. This review may assist game developers or educators in validating serious games.