A virtual reality patient simulation system for teaching emergency response skills to u.s. navy medical providers

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Rapid and effective medical intervention in response to civil and military-related disasters is crucial for saving lives and limiting long-term disability. Inexperienced providers may suffer in performance when faced with limited supplies and the demands of stabilizing casualties not generally encountered in the comparatively resource-rich hospital setting. Head trauma and multiple injury cases are particularly complex to diagnose and treat, requiring the integration and processing of complex multimodal data. In this project, collaborators adapted and merged existing technologies to produce a flexible, modular patient simulation system with both three-dimensional virtual reality and two-dimensional flat screen user interfaces for teaching cognitive assessment and treatment skills. This experiential, problem-based training approach engages the user in a stress-filled, high fidelity world, providing multiple learning opportunities within a compressed period of time and without risk. The system simulates both the dynamic state of the patient and the results of user intervention, enabling trainees to watch the virtual patient deteriorate or stabilize as a result of their decision-making speed and accuracy. Systems can be deployed to the field enabling trainees to practice repeatedly until their skills are mastered and to maintain those skills once acquired. This paper describes the technologies and the process used to develop the trainers, the clinical algorithms, and the incorporation of teaching points. We also characterize aspects of the actual simulation exercise through the lens of the trainee. Copyright © World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine 2001.

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Prehospital and Disaster Medicine

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