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Medical readiness vital to U.S. Army’s mission

Army Surgeon General and U.S. Army Medical Command Commanding General

Published: 12:42PM May 10th, 2018

Northwest Guardian

Lt. Gen. Nadja West, right, Army Surgeon General and U.S. Army Medical Command commanding general, visits with 1st Lt. Holly Carlson, a post op registered nurse at Madigan Army Medical Center, after a Town Hall at Madigan Oct. 4.

As our nation and our military face potential threats from adversaries across the globe, medical readiness of the force remains my number one priority for Army Medicine.

We must be ready to support our Army and the joint-force in any environment; ready to adapt and apply our full spectrum of Army Medicine capabilities from injury to recovery; ready to identify and apply innovative technologies; and strengthen the physical and psychological well-being of our Soldiers, veterans and their families.

One example of our effort to increase readiness and one that brings care closer to our patients is virtual health. The use of virtual health capabilities includes remotely monitoring patient vitals providing virtual consultations and could help medics save limbs and lives on the battlefield.

Virtual health revolutionizes access to medical care within garrison facilities, at patient’s homes or at the point of injury.

While the Army currently exceeds Department of Defense medical readiness standards, there is always room for improvement. Some of the Army’s success can be attributed to the Medical Readiness Transformation effort which began in 2016.

This initiative continues to serve as a strategic lever in improving Army medical readiness. A key piece of the transformation involved the launch of four new portals designed to improve medical readiness transparency for Soldiers, commanders and health care providers.

The Commander Portal, Senior Commander Portal, Healthcare Portal and Administrative Portal — all part of the Medical Readiness Portal — provide a new venue for communication between providers and commanders.

Furthermore, the integrated Medical Readiness Portal consolidates other applications into each respective portal to allow the user a single platform from which to access these applications. For example, the Healthcare Portal now hosts the Deployment Medical Readiness and Physical Health Assessments, Separation History and Health Examination, e-profile and Medical Readiness Assessment Tool applications.

The Medical Readiness Transformation brought commanders more responsibility for unit and Soldier readiness in an effort to decrease their nondeployable population and increase the overall readiness throughout the Army.

Additional initiatives Army Medicine spearheaded to improve medical readiness include increasing quality of care and patient safety, improving access to care for readiness related services, expanding embedded behavioral health care, reducing the use of opioids by Soldiers, implementing the Go First Class dental program and operationalizing the tenets of the Performance Triad (sleep, activity and nutrition), while remaining focused on the importance of expanding the capabilities in combat casualty care and medical evacuation.

Army Medicine is also building collaborative partnerships with the other military services, agencies and civilian medical facilities to provide a globally-integrated military medical team. These partnerships hope to provide reliable, relevant and responsive health care that optimizes readiness, health and resiliency.

Army Medicine is a driving force behind the innovations and technologies that allow us to adapt to future challenges that may arise at home or abroad. We will continue to provide the full spectrum of health care from prevention, to acute care (on and off the battlefield), rehabilitative care and chronic care, while continuing to meet or exceed national quality of care standards in garrison environments.

Army Medicine remains committed to improving readiness, enhancing the health care delivered to our beneficiaries, transforming health care to support the Army and joint-forces in future conflicts and continuing to take care of our Soldiers, civilians and their families.