Earlier this year, Operative Experience (OEI) was selected to receive the 2016 Tibbetts Award for outstanding contributions in innovation and technology to the US Government’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Working in conjunction with the military’s Defense Health Agency (DHA) and Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC), the objective for OEI was to develop simulation-based methods to rapidly train trauma-naive, deploying surgeons in critical combat surgery skills. In further recognition of its work, OEI has now been chosen to be highlighted as a program success story in the DHA’s program overview at the National SBIR conference this May. The presentation will be given by CAPT Sally Hu, the DHA’s SBIR Program Director.
To date, OEI has received over $4M in SBIR grant funding to develop simulation products designed to improve combat surgery skills training. One of the key metrics of success for SBIR recipients is the economic impact and commercialization of the technology developed as a result of funding. All training systems developed under SBIR funding have been commercialized and include: lower leg fasciotomy; surgical airway; ventriculostomy; damage control craniectomy; a vascularized junctional tourniquet trainer for common femoral artery injury; emergency left thoracotomy and aortic cross-clamping, pericardiotomy and cardiac injury repair; a Damage Control Laparotomy for treatment of critical abdominal injuries (under final development); and Resuscitative Endovascular Balloon Occlusion of the Aorta (REBOA) (under final development). From this work, the company has created complete casualty manikins with high-anatomic-fidelity tissues, carotid pulses, breathing, high-pressure hemorrhage from multiple war wounds and animatronics to train medics in multiple TCCC procedures. The company is extending this work to create a female point-of-injury trauma simulator through a Phase I SBIR and is competing for a Phase II grant.