December 10, 2013By Lance Baily

U.S. Army Continues to Successfully Expand Medical Simulation Training

army healthcare simulation

Two news items today about the continued success of medical simulation expansion by the United States Army.

The first is front page news on that the Brooke Army Medical Center’s Simulation Center was recently accredited by the Society for Simulation in Healthcare in the areas of simulation teaching/education, training, and research last month. The Center is only one of 33 to be accredited by the SSH, which oversees the quality of simulation centers around the world. BAMC SIM Center served more than 8,000 personnel and conducted over 40,000 simulation hours last year!

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“This accreditation validates the high quality of the medical simulation training that is being done at SAMMC,” said Army Lt. Col. Rhonda Deen, BAMC SIM Center medical director. “This recognition confirms that we have an active simulation program that covers multiple disciplines, that our individual programs use objectives to measure outcomes for improvements, and that we use standards by which we evaluate our simulation instructors. All of these factors equal high quality, realistic medical training that leads to positive impacts in patient safety.”

Learn more by reading the full article about BAMC SIM here.

army mayo simulation

The second item is from the U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade about the successful partnership between the 865th Army Reserve Combat Support Hospital (CSH) out of Utica, N.Y. and Mayo Clinic Multidisciplinary Simulation Center in Rochester.

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“With these patients they can simulate any wound in the world, change the scenario and tempo and pace of the patients coming in,” said Col. Kurt Vonfricken, a thoracic and general surgeon with the 865th CSH. “I had scenarios where I had to be in a couple of places at once. At one point I had to take on another surgeon’s patient. The patient had had a laparoscopy and colon resection, they were bleeding and I had to come back and operate. Then there was a patient who had a traumatic amputation, one with a knife in his shoulder and one shot through the chest where we had to open the chest, fix the lung and do open chest CPR. It’s safer than having live patients; this is how you train a team. I don’t think you can do it any better.”

Despite the vast range of scenarios and wounds the 865th practiced diagnosing and managing during the intense two-day exercise, the training wasn’t designed to improve the clinicians’ individual skills, but to improve their ability to work together as a team in diagnosing and managing patient care.

Colonel Joaquin Cortiella, the Medical Readiness and Training Command (MRTC) medical director, said good patient care is all about teamwork.

“We are interested in the clinical part but we know we can’t teach trauma in this setting. Our intent here is to look at team development in managing the patients’ care. If correct or timely decisions aren’t made about patient care within the first 15 minutes, a patient can go from someone who is relatively stable to someone who requires heroic measures. It takes coordinated teamwork and good communication to diagnose the condition of patients, coordinate and implement multiple patient care and provide them with the appropriate treatment .”

When the MRTC offered 865th CSH commander Col. Kathie Clark the opportunity to train 50 of her unit’s 500 members at Mayo she jumped at the chance. “Through this exercise, we have seen a marked improvement in lessons learned and in better communication. The way ahead is to maintain these techniques during our weekend drills and collective field and annual trainingexercises.”

Now the AR-MEDCOM commander, Maj. Gen. Kelly considers this type of training essential.

“There had been a gap in the opportunity for CSHs to get this kind of training, the level of fidelity and the type of team cohesion they’re able to develop with this type of training compared to other opportunities they have across the training cycle. That’s why we pursued this. I look forward to that being the case each time we come back here. We always receive state of the art training for Army Reserve combat support hospitals when they work with the Mayo Clinic.”

Read the full article about the 865th/Mayo partnership on!

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