CyberSurgeons Mission Scenario
As your mission begins, you and your classmates are part of a team of medical personnel on the Mercy, a medical/surgical ship, traveling up the Amazon River in Brazil to treat scientists stationed at research stations in the tropical rain forest. The trauma unit also treats many other patients as the ship travels the Amazon stopping at different research stations along the way. The research stations are located in ecological “hot spots”—areas with exceptionally high species diversity that are critically endangered. It is a prime place to collect samples of plants that might be biomedically useful. Many of the researchers are funded by the National Cancer Institute’s Natural Products Branch to collect and screen plant materials that might be promising in treatments for cancer and AIDS.
The Chief Medical Officer at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Headquarters alerts your team in the remote trauma unit to each situation. Your class takes on the roles of various experts and begins to work on different aspects of patient care. You work in one of four teams: Case Managers, Diagnostic Specialists, Med-Surg Specialists, and Clinical Intervention Specialists. To respond to each patient case, the trauma teams will use a state-of-the-art array of online simulated database and communications resources for diagnosis, testing, and treatment. As the students receive case histories and medical charts for each patient, the diagnostics specialists access a Medinet database that links symptoms with possible diagnoses. Specialists evaluate and identify possible causes and work with the Med-Surg Specialists to order diagnostic tests. The results of laboratory tests eliminate unlikely diagnoses, and team members continue ordering tests and analyzing results until they achieve a final diagnosis. The Clinical Intervention Specialists review the final diagnosis and test results and recommends a treatment protocol. They also use a clinical trials database to match patient cases with clinical trials and decide if the patient is a good candidate for possible inclusion in the trial investigation. Team members find out the status of their patients after treatment and handle critical patients as they are selected by their Case Manager.
The Diagnostics Specialists access a database that connects symptoms with possible disease conditions. Team members evaluate patient symptoms as described on the medical chart, identify an initial diagnosis, and order the appropriate laboratory tests. Team members communicate with their Case Manager to give and receive information and up-dates on patient status and pass the case on to the Med-Surg team for the next phase of patient care.
Med-Surg team members receive a patient report form with an initial patient diagnosis from the Diagnostic Specialists. They review laboratory and x-ray results, interpret the tests, and finalize the diagnostic process. If an initial diagnosis is not confirmed, Med-Surg Specialists work with the Diagnostic Specialists to revise the diagnosis or order more tests. Once a final diagnosis is confirmed, Med-Surg Specialists pass the case on to the Clinical Intervention Specialists for the last phase of patient care.
Clinical Intervention Specialists
The Clinical Intervention Specialists use a database to correlate patient symptoms and diagnoses with the most promising treatment protocol. The team’s options include first aid, pharmaceuticals, surgical procedures, and various therapies. Based on test results and final diagnoses, the Clinical Intervention Specialists evaluate all recommendations and decide on a course of treatment. The Clinical Intervention Specialists also access a clinical trial database and evaluate the patient for possible recommendation for clinical trial participation.
Case Managers receive patient charts from the Chief Medical Officer. They briefly review each chief complaint, set of vital signs, patient history, and physical exam results and work cooperatively to accept the case for his/her patient care team or pass the case to another team. Once a case is accepted, Case Managers direct the patient care progress throughout the diagnostic and treatment phases of the medical care process. They maintain patient flow through the teams, update the patient status charts for their teams, and facilitate communication between the specialists and the Chief Medical Officer.