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Military Medical Simulation and Training Capability

12/05/2022

Authors: Dr Helen Dudfield and John Kent under the Futures Lab Contract.

Medical Training

UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

Challenge

Medical practitioners are reliant on realistic training environments that allow them to learn, practise and refresh their clinical skills. In the UK military, basic medical training often comprises of static manikins blended with face to face teaching. However, combining these with modern distributed learning technology (e.g. physiologically responsive manikins or augmented reality), may improve the realism and responsiveness of a Medical Simulation and Training Capability (MSTC). Without a pervasive MSTC capability, there is a risk that individual skills will fade. Therefore a market survey focused on the Army Combat Medical Technician (CMT) role, primarily their tasks in trauma pre-evacuation. In a six week task, Commercial off the Shelf (COTS) equipment and services currently available and future products, were identified against the MSTC need.

Facilitating a pan-industry view

Futures Lab facilitated a truely pan-industry team of Medical and Technology expertise from organisations of all sizes to undertake the market survey. Consisting of six SME organisations from micro to mid-scale, including change specialists, facilitators, Simulation and Training engineering manufacturers, scientists and technologists, Medical Training SMEs that are Reservists and/or NHS Emergency Medical Care Consultants.

Market Survey Overview

The MSTC team held two Working Groups, building on Army and Joint 1:1 stakeholder interviews and reviews of current operational pathway and training packages. The workshops with a mix of fifteen medical professionals and technologists identifying MSTC user requirements, operational role context and potential solutions and products. These were complimented by an open source review of current and future products and technology insights drawn covering the implications of, and guidance on, the defence use of traditional Modelling and Simulation (M&S) and future innovations, such as eXtended Reality (XR) technology (e.g. Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality).

This resulted in analysis of potential market solutions against following MSTC problem statement:

The Army Combat Medical Technician requires a coherent, contextualised, realistic, efficient, measurable and robust training capability through the Operational Patient Care Pathway including Pre-hospital Emergency Care, Core Intervention Skills and Primary Care.

This capability should be easily accessible on demand to the user for training to be integrated into the unit activity including firm base and on deployment to acquire and maintain Knowledge Skills and Attitudes (KSA).

No single product, however, met the entire training need, meaning that a blended training solution will be required. It was concluded that COTS products exist that will enable the basics to be in place for the CMT training need in their firm base. It became evident, as well, that the risk of the potential loss of skills increases, due to the persistent lack of ways and means to training, outside of the core central locations and work based practice in medical settings/Regiments. This includes access to the basic medical kit and an environment to practice basic trauma procedures. In terms of meeting the identified CMT training gap in richer scenario-based learning, the market survey shows that a range of transformative new technologies and learning approaches are available now. Once the basic capability has been established, other products should be considered in a deeper dive and exploration through technology assessment, followed by CMT specific adaptation.

Recommendations

It is recommended that the benefits and risks of the technologies identified in the next 2-3 years are investigated through agile experimentation, once the basics outlined above have been acquired in the immediate future. Investment in the basics through the provision of training equipment should mitigate the risk of knowledge and skill fade between Phase 2 and 3, Firm Base deployment and so improve operational capability.

Contributing Organisations include: BMNT, Hymenoptera Ltd, Pitch, Plexsys, Prometheus Medical Limited, QinetiQ and Trauma Simulation Ltd

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