A social cybernetic analysis of simulation-based, remotely delivered medical skills training in an austere environment: Developing a test bed for spaceflight medicine
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This paper describes analysis of medical skills training exercises that were conducted at an arctic research station. These were conducted as part of an ongoing effort to establish high fidelity medical simulation test bed capabilities in remote and extreme "space analogue" environments for the purpose studying medical care in spaceflight. The methodological orientation followed by the authors is that of "second order cybernetics," or the science of studying human systems where the observer is involved within the system in question. Analyses presented include the identification of three distinct phases of the training activity, and two distinct levels of work groups-- termed "first-order teams" and "second-order teams." Depending on the phase of activity, first-order and second-order teams are identified, each having it own unique structure, composition, communications, goals, and challenges. Several specific teams are highlighted as case examples. Limitations of this approach are discussed, as are potential benefits to ongoing and planned research activity in this area.
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