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US Army Takes More VITAMMINS

Medical Simulation and Tutoring Systems from Charles River Analytics

Charles River Analytics (CRA), in partnership with Prof. Frank Ritter and Dr. Chris Garrison from Pennsylvania State University (PSU), is building a medical simulation and tutoring system for the US Army under a two year $1.5 million contract, the company announced on 7 May.

US military medicine sets a standard of care across the world, bringing techniques to austere environments under challenging conditions. Medical personnel must be trained in the continuously evolving medical practices and the development of new devices, techniques, and procedures. CRA and PSU are therefore collaborating on a system to improve medical training and patient care – the Virtual Intelligent Tutor for the Andragogy of Military Medicine Integrated Skills (VITAMMINS).

Military medical care providers are under constant strain to learn new medical devices, procedures, and skills to ensure the best possible patient care,” commented CRA’s Senior Scientist, Dr. James Niehaus. “Adaptive training systems that tailor themselves to individual provider needs can reduce training time while maximising learning. We’re developing a system to address key questions in building the next generation of training for military medicine.”

Charles River and PSU are building on their years of partnership in the design and development of intelligent tutoring systems, simulation-based training systems and skill modelling methods and technologies under the VITAMMINS effort. VITAMMINS is an adaptive tutor for the military medical domain that aims to improve the quality and efficiency of medical skill training and sustainment, as well as reducing the costs and time necessary for training. VITAMMINS accurately classifies an individual’s skill and continuously adapts training content to meet individual learning needs to maximise both skill improvement and sustainment. Patients benefit directly from this training; they will receive a higher quality of care from medical professionals who are better trained to meet the needs of tomorrow’s medicine.

To develop skill models in VITAMMINS, CRA will use its Methodology for Annotating Skill Trees (MAST) set of tools. MAST rapidly captures, represents, assesses and trains deep knowledge about complex procedural skills, including decision-making and situational awareness. It was developed to facilitate the learning of laparoscopic surgical skills under the LASTS laparoscopic training system.

VITAMMINS is one of CRA’s Healthcare Support and Training efforts, which addresses medical skills training, therapy and decision support tools, as well as sensor and sensing technologies. The company also developed the TMT tourniquet training system and the STAT tablet-based training system, which presents a virtual patient in multiple trauma scenarios for efficient and effective learning, rehearsal, and assessment.

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