Combat Medic is an exciting new virtual educational program designed to train Army medics and other military medical personnel to manage the top causes of death in the modern battlefield: hemorrhage, airway obstruction, and tension pneumothorax (2014). Designed as a procedural trainer, the game allows medics to cognitively apply, practice, and review Tactical Combat Care, patient management, and documentation in a contextually accurate combat scenario. Combat Medic also allows for the application of other important concepts such as equipment preparation, team organization, and communication through unique and intuitive user interfaces that preserve both contextual, cognitive, and task fidelity.
Learners can either practice independently as a single player or use its multi-player function for facilitator-led and team events. Opportunities to learn reflectively is made possible with virtual pre- and post-game meeting spaces and a robust debriefing platform replete with analysis of task performance and video playback. To maximize deployability and access, the game works from browser plug-ins that are compatible with any recently produced computer.
Combat Medic can benefit medical training and sustainment in a number of ways:
- Combat Medic can be used as a viable alternative training method for individual and collective tasks – especially for medics and units with limited training time and access to resources.
- The game’s accessibility maximizes unscheduled training time by providing learners the ability to practice complex skills at a time and place of their choosing. This tool can be especially useful in for individual task training (crawl phase) as part of a schoolhouse curriculum, cyclical training, or in preparation for field exercises.
- Combat Medic can maximize the mission impact of live or manikin-based events by improving simulation center throughput (increased “first-time goes”); improving pre-event competence allowing for a greater emphasis on collective tasks; and prioritizing access for those who need manikin-based resources the most.
- Combat Medic can be used as a method to assess and validate medical skills. The ability to convene in a shared virtual space from anywhere with internet access can be especially useful for Reservists, National Guardsman, distance learners, and others who are geographically separated.
- Standardized and tailored task requirements will improve the consistency of training within and between different units.
- Combat Medic’s ability to collect performance data from every user can yield valuable insight into Army-wide medic readiness. By capturing and analyzing these data, commanders and training NCO’s will be better able to track medic competency and direct costly training resources to where they can provide the most impact to the mission.
- Leaders can use the game as a virtual sandbox to experiment, develop, and implement new team process and often overlooked tasks such as the packing aid bags.
- Combat Medic can also benefit combat lifesavers, Soldiers in other medical specialties, and all Soldiers to practice buddy aid.
In summary, Combat Medic has the potential to improve individual and command readiness, improve compliance with sustainment requirements, prevent skills decay, improve effectiveness and efficiency of simulation resources, and ultimately save lives.