- Introduction: A Top-Level Look at the Future of Federal Medicine
- Military Health System in Time of Transition as Conflicts End
- Army Medicine: Redefining Its Role in the Generation of a Ready and Resilient Force
- Air Force Medicine: Averting an Identity Crisis
- Moving Forward with Reforming the Indian Health Service
- The Clinical Pharmacy Specialist's Growing Provider Role in VA
- Public Health Service Pharmacy: Accelerating Transformation
- Military Pain Management’s Future: Less Invasive, More Data-Driven Techniques
- Navy Medicine: Strong, Agile and Ready
- Telemental Health in VA: A New Source of Support for Veterans
- Categorized in: Air Force, Department of Defense (DoD), This Year in Federal Medicine - Outlook 2013
Our most valuable readiness asset is our people — they must be and deserve to be in the best physical, psychological and emotional health to meet the challenges both at home station and in the AOR. As medics, it is our core competency to be current, trained, and equipped to provide full-spectrum care, no matter what or where the military operation — combat operations, stability operations, humanitarian assistance or disaster relief. To enhance our core competency on the ground and in the air, we’re pursuing major modernization initiatives.
In the past year, we’ve successfully tested and deployed our Expeditionary Medical Support Health Response Team (EMEDS-HRT), which replaces our former EMEDS Basic as the first element of EMEDS capability. The HRT provides initial operating capability within 15 minutes, emergency-room care within two hours, operating-room capability within four hours, critical care within six hours and full operating capability within 12 hours. The HRT allows us to tailor clinical care to the mission, adding specialty care and International Health Specialist components for humanitarian assistance or disaster relief missions. Ten HRTs are now postured for deployment.
Globally, almost 182,000 patients have been moved since 9/11, including more than 8,200 high-acuity patients moved with Critical Care Air Transport Teams (CCATTs). These teams provide intensive-care support in-flight to our high-risk patients and have proven to be a major contributor to the lowest died-of-wounds rate in our nation’s history.
Taking the next step toward raising the survival rate, the Air Force Medical Service (AFMS) has developed and deployed Tactical Critical Care Evacuation Teams (TCCETs) that provide emergency trauma care on rotary-wing aircraft beyond that provided by field and flight medical personnel. TCCETs represent the Air Force’s initiative to close the critical care gap and ensure continuous critical care en route from forward stabilization to definitive care. Two teams are deployed in theater, allowing even more expeditious movement of critical patients between Level II and Level III facilities.
To keep our trauma and CCATT providers current and ready for the next conflict, we will be relying even more upon the outstanding civilian partnering programs established at our Centers for the Sustainment of Readiness Skills (C-STARS) in Baltimore, Cincinnati and St. Louis, where exciting advances in training and research are taking place, such as the new TCCET course at C-STARS Cincinnati and expanded integration of medical simulation at all our sites. We also must meet the significant challenge of clinical and aviation exposure for our aeromedical evacuation crews.
As we prepare for the future, human performance and human systems integration will be even more critical factors in the evolving way we fight wars and must influence the evolution of medical support for operators. We must better support our “deployed in place” airmen who are staffing systems such as the distributed communication ground stations, space and cyber operations or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), in addition to those who operate “outside the wire,” such as our Special Operations Forces or Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) specialists. The types of injuries or stresses — both visible and invisible — to members and their families are evolving, too. We must provide medical support in different ways than we have in the past to address the expanding definition of “operators” and step up to our role as human performance practitioners, assuring airmen are able always to perform their missions effectively. We are engaging in many human performance research initiatives across the AFMS to further this goal as well as research in a broad spectrum of clinical, information/technology and operational projects to ensure the care we provide remains state of the art.