HomeNewsArticle Display

Virtual training platform maintains, improves military surgeons' skills

Airmen assigned to the 99th Medical Group perform in an orthopedic spine surgery at Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, Aug. 27, 2018. Having in-house surgeons allows patients to bypass referrals downtown. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver)

Airmen assigned to the 99th Medical Group perform in an orthopedic spine surgery at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., Aug. 27, 2018. Having in-house surgeons allows patients to bypass referrals downtown. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew D. Sarver)

FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AFNS) -- It is vital for medical Airmen to continuously maintain and improve their skills. To access more training opportunities, military surgeons are looking to virtual training platforms.

The Air Force is working with sister services to study a virtual training platform called Crowd-Sourced Assessment of Technical Skills, or C-SATS. C-SATS provides specialized training for surgeons to further improve their specialized skills.

According to Maj. Joshua Tyler, director of robotics at Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi, C-SATS lets surgeons receive virtual feedback on an objective, third-party platform. This unbiased feedback helps improve their skills.

“Basically, a panel of expert surgeons virtually reviews a case you submit, and (then) provides feedback,” said Tyler. “This helps our surgeons learn the most advanced surgical techniques they would otherwise have less exposure to.”

While C-SATS shows promising results in studies with civilian surgeons, it has not yet been studied with military surgeons.

“The Department of Defense’s trained surgeons are talented and qualified, but it takes experience and time to become proficient,” said Army Col. Robert Lim, chief of Minimally Invasive Surgery at Tripler Army Medical Center, Hawaii. “The C-SATS platform provides additional opportunities to ensure skills are maintained and perfected.”

To assess C-SATS’s use on improving the skills and capabilities of military surgeons, Lim and his team, including Tyler, received a grant from the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center at the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command in December of 2017.

“The grant will look at military surgeons recently back from deployment,” said Lim. “We are looking at surgeons at Keesler Air Force Base, Naval Base San Diego, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and Tripler Army Medical Center.”

One benefit of the C-SATS platform is that busy surgeons can use it on their schedule, instead of waiting for training opportunities.

“This is especially important for specialists who may not have as many opportunities to practice their specific skills on-base,” said Tyler. “This platform provides another way to ensure they can retain their clinical currency.”

Using C-SATS, surgeons submit a recording of a case they have completed, after removing any identifiable patient information. The development team at C-SATS will then edit the video file into key steps of the procedure and send it to expert reviewers familiar with the procedure.

One of those expert reviewers is Tyler.

“Not only do we take great care to ensure patient privacy, but we also ensure the surgeon that performs the operation and the reviewers remain anonymous,” said Tyler. “The expert surgeons will then score the video on key areas such as how well the surgeon used their hands, how well they manipulated the tissue, or assess their pace. The surgeon gets feedback on a very granular level, specifying the exact second where a surgeon could improve their technique.”

As Tyler explains, C-SATS has the potential to be an in important tool that supports full spectrum medical readiness by maintaining currency and improving skills.

“C-SATS has had tremendous success in improving skills and patient outcomes in the private sector, and we want to know how this platform can work for our military surgeons,” said Tyler. “This platform can provide military surgeons an additional opportunity to stay up-to-date on advanced techniques and receive additional support with new innovations like surgical robotics.”

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @CAF_Australia: There is no more enduring friendship than that between @AusAirForce and @usairforce. Today in Canberra I hosted CSAF #US
RT @AFCLC: AFCLC was honored to host the Command Chiefs from around Indo PACOM this week and discuss how #language and #culture assets from…
RT @USAFHealth: #TBT: Air Force medics, Eighth Army Soldiers, and Korean civilians load a wounded Soldier from the 1st Cavalry Division ont…
RT @AFRLScholars: Let's #celebrate a successful #AFRLScholar2019! With 350+ interns across 6 @AFResearchLab technical directorates and @AFW
RT @US_Stratcom: #DyessAFB #Airmen put their strength to the test as they competed in the 2019 #GlobalStrikeChallenge. @AFGlobalStrike #Kn
RT @AF_WBB: Get hype for season ⚡⚡⚡ https://t.co/a1nSjTx1Xc
RT @AstroHague: Each time I open the door the views keep getting better. Congratulations to all involved in the successful execution of thi…
RT @AETCommand: Last week, over 400 #Airmen came to San Antonio from bases around the world to learn more about the @usairforce mission of…
RT @DeptofDefense: Don’t look down. @usairforce cable & antenna systems airmen climb a tower during training at Aviano Air Base, Italy 🇮🇹.…
RT @ulalaunch: MISSION SUCCESS! United Launch Alliance's #DeltaIV has deployed #GPSIIISV02 Magellan for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missil…
Since Aug.1, 1948. @RealAFOSI has been #USAF's major investigative service, providing criminal investigations and… https://t.co/pKmUbamHWD
RT @AFSpace: Captain Rachael Preslar, a #TeamBuckley Panther, is the first active duty female to win Mrs. Colorado! She currently serves as…
RT @WrightPattAFB: “With the new system, we will have six times the processing power as Thor.” -- Air Force looking to improve weather data…
RT @ulalaunch: The countdown has begun for this morning's #DeltaIV rocket launch of #GPSIIISV02 for the @USAirForce and @AF_SMC. The launch…
RT @ulalaunch: Weather forecasters from @usairforce @45thspacewing say conditions are favorable to proceed with tower roll and for the rest…
RT @HQUSAFEPA: #APFKenya continued yesterday with tactics techniques and procedures on tactical combat casualty care and 5-line call for fi…
RT @StripesCarlos: Only 2 months in #Okinawa, @KadenaAirBase Airman helps save a 4-year-old boy from drowning at the beach... Read more of…
RT @AirForceMag: .@HQUSAFEPA this week kicked off its premier training and engagement event, the African Partnership Flight, at Laikipia AB…
RT @AFThunderbirds: **Update** Air Force Thunderbirds to Join Royal Air Force Red Arrows, F-35s & F-22 in Historic Aerial Parade over the…