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How Serious Games Are Changing Air Medical Education

Image credit: Yorkshire Air Ambulance


Air Medical Services is a comprehensive term covering the use of air transportation to move patients to and from healthcare facilities and accident scenes. Personnel provide comprehensive prehospital and emergency and critical care to all types of patients during aeromedical evacuation or rescue operations aboard helicopter and propeller aircraft or jet aircraft.


AirMed&Rescue Magazine, Issue 116, May Edition, is out now with a must-read article titled Using The Sixth Sense To Escape The Monotony, covering how Serious Games are changing medical education.

 The authors are William Belk, whose professional interests include high-risk obstetrics, serious gaming, 3D printing, and all aspects of healthcare simulation. He serves as the Technical Chair for the AMTC (Aviation & Missile Technology Consortium) Sim Cup alongside an international team of flight clinicians and educators; and Jennifer Noce, a Critical Care Flight Paramedic and the Division Education Manager for Air Methods Corporation, an American privately owned helicopter operator whose air medical division provides emergency medical services to 70,000-100,000 patients every year.  


The Air Methods Approach

According to the authors, Air Methods Corporation (AMC) has wholly redesigned its clinical education approach to embrace emerging technology and educational concepts, focusing on problem-solving and communication while caring for simulated patients using a combination of high-fidelity human patient simulators and serious gaming activities.


“In 2020, Air Methods began working with California-based virtual reality developer SimX to create the first large-scale air medical virtual reality (VR) training program. Air Methods and SimX are developing a library of advanced clinical scenarios capable of having multiple players working together to treat patients in the virtual environment.”

Image credit: AirMed&Rescue Magazine


VR allows educators to address clinical trends anywhere in the country without the need for travel. This is accomplished simply by allowing an educator to virtually join a flight crew and run them through high-acuity cases without leaving their home or office.


“Another new development is the popularity of recreational escape rooms throughout the US. These facilities use a series of clues to solve a mystery or escape a dire threat, usually while racing against the clock. In recent years, escape rooms have been adapted for use in clinical training, and Air Methods has brought this fun and entertaining teaching style into the air medical industry. A team of educators at Air Methods have developed an escape room that mixes clinical knowledge, pop-culture references, and good old-fashioned sleuthing into an interactive learning experience designed to better prepare clinicians to care for critical pediatric patients. Each step of patient care, such as accessing medications or locating lab values, requires the team to solve the previous clues. Three groups are pitted against each other each day to see who can figure out the patient’s condition and provide the most appropriate care in the shortest amount of time.”