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US DOD’s telemedicine objective is to measure health of the force and enhance efficiency of military health system.

Telemedicine is the remote delivery of healthcare services, such as health assessments or consultations, over the telecommunications infrastructure. It allows healthcare providers to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients without the need for an in-person visit. By moving information rather than patients and physicians, telemedicine promises to enhance healthcare while dismantling the barriers of where and when medical services are provided.


Telemedicine can be classified into three main categories. Remote patient monitoring or telemonitoring, allows patients with chronic diseases to be monitored in their homes using mobile medical devices that collect data about blood sugar levels, blood pressure or other vital signs. The store-and-forward allows providers to share patient information, such as lab results, with a physician at another location and interactive telemedicine. Interactive telemedicine allows physicians and patients to communicate in real time.


Telemedicine is also of great utility to military especially to the soldiers who are fighting in remote locations where the proper health care facilities are lacking. DOD Telemedicine objectives are as follows: keep active duty forces on the Job; enhance and measure health of the force; reduce forward deployed medical footprint; modify military health system staffing model to reduce size and skill mix for support of military operations; and to increase efficiency of military health system.


According to Fox News, this process has been instrumental in helping doctors and nurses spot diseases and conditions in active-duty soldiers that may otherwise have gone unnoticed for some time. Soldiers can communicate directly with healthcare providers thanks to video conferencing technology, which can be useful for performing diagnostic interviews and treatment follow-ups.


What’s more, it’s possible to send critical diagnostic data across the continents via the Web. Now, patients can share EKG results, photos of rashes or legions, and a wide array of initial diagnostic assessments with their care providers back home. And of course, in the event of acute trauma, additional doctors stateside can be called on to consult directly with patients to help better determine the course of action that should be taken.


The myriad ways telemedicine can help the military are growing, both in demand and capability. Therefore, military is pushing for greater telemedicine capability at its disposal, not just to aid active duty soldiers, but to make life easier for returning veterans as well.


The Military Health System is looking for proposals to consolidate its many telehealth and telemedicine programs onto one enterprise platform, called the Virtual Health Program, which would be able to serve millions of patients across the globe.


Virtual health is a valuable component of the MHS in and around Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs), referred to as garrison, as well as when the military deploys to theater arenas across the globe,” the agency said in its Request For Information (RFI). “Expanding the use of VH improves patient access to care; improves efficiencies by minimizing treatment delays and expediting referral processes, particularly for psychological health and field care; facilitates continuity of care with patient-centered medical homes; minimizes the number of specialists required to be staffed at individual facilities to support primary care providers, reducing reliance on expensive brick-and-mortar facilities; and directly engages tech-savvy young adults who comprise the majority of our beneficiaries.”


US Army soldiers test newest MEDHUB transport telemedicine technology

US Army soldiers are testing the new Medical Hands-free Unified Broadcast (MEDHUB) technology being developed by the Army Medicine department to improve patient triage and communication during medical evacuations.


MEDHUB uses wearable sensors, accelerometers and other technology approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to improve the communication flow between patients, medics and receiving field hospitals.


The technology is used to autonomously collect, store and transmit non-personally identifiable patient information from a device, such as a handheld tablet, to the receiving field hospital through existing long-range communication systems used by the US Department of Defense (DoD).


The data transmitted using MEDHUB is displayed on a large screen at the receiving hospital in order to enable the clinicians have a clear idea about the number of patients and their vital statistics.


Transport Telemedicine product manager Jay Wang said: “MEDHUB is really about life-saving situational awareness. MEDHUB is expected to be deployed for wider use by the US DoD by 2019.“The system is designed to give receiving medical teams more information so they can better prepare for incoming patients by gathering the necessary staff and supplies.”



U.S. Navy and GlobalMed: Exciting Telemedicine Firsts at Sea

In March the Navy conducted its first-ever underway portable telemedicine broadcast, transmitting vitals, ENT, and head and neck skin examinations from U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) using GlobalMed solutions. On March 9, the Navy used our technology to perform its first-ever underway teleprocedural mentorship (TCCC): tourniquet placement, needle thoracostomy, and cricothyroidotomy. *


GlobalMed, an international provider of telehealth solutions, has earned the U.S. Department of Defense Authority to Operate on DoD networks. GlobalMed is the first provider of HIPAA-compliant clinical video tools to obtain an ATO. This coveted certification enables GlobalMed to put their virtual health applications, hardware and software directly on the DoD network, making their solutions available to the DODs integrated healthcare system known as the Military Health System.



During combat, telemedicine will provide battlespace awareness of the health status of individual warfighters and units, allowing line and medical commanders to proactively monitor, measure, predict, and manage the health of the force using real-time physiological sensors, large-scale distributed medical databases, computerized patient records, and medical situational awareness. Real-time knowledge of the physiological status of U.S. forces will add a new dimension to situational awareness, enabling commanders to predict individual warfighter and unit effectiveness, optimize utilization of forces, minimize casualties, and rapidly identify casualties when they occur.


When illness and combat trauma strike, telemedicine will enable commanders to improve the effective employment of medical forces. It will provide new capabilities for predictive diagnostics, digital image acquisition devices, 3D image processing, clinically focused teleconsulation systems, and better informed, less invasive surgical treatment that improve clinical outcomes.


Telemedicine is not however, the panacea for either military health care or combat medical support. Wilder claims by its advocates have suggested that helmet cameras and two-way communications linked back to a field hospital from first responders would substantially reduce combat fatalities. In reality only 5 percent of battlefield mortalities are salvageable, in general those from bleeding and chest wound categories.


Telemedicine comes with significant costs. Consider that medics must be equipped with video and information conferencing devices and that every field hospital would have to be equipped with some form of server and input/output technology to assist the first providers and the cost becomes staggering. With current information technologies advancing every months, upgrading equipment will also be financially challenging. Significant additional expenditures will be needed to implement telemedicine initiatives.




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