By Mr. Jeff L Troth (Army Medicine)May 23, 2016
FORT CARSON, Colorado -- As the active-duty Army cuts 40,000 troops from its ranks over the next couple of years, Army Medicine is working to increase the number of Soldiers that are medically available to deploy.
The active-duty Army currently has 490,000 Soldiers, but military records show that 16 percent of that force is nondeployable -- that means only 347,900 Soldiers are ready to accomplish their war-time mission.
"As we decrease our total troop strength to 450,000 we also have to be able to cut that non-deployable percentage," said Lt. Col. Dave Hamilton, deputy commander for health and readiness at Fort Carson's Medical Department Activity. "Just by cutting it in half to 8 percent we can actually increase the number of available Soldiers (355,500) to our force, to our commanders."
To help decrease the number of nondeployables, Army Medicine's Medical Readiness Transformation is launching the Commander Portal June 1. This new system will allow company command teams to view their units' overall readiness on one system.
"The Commander Portal is going to give commanders and first sergeants a quick overview of their company's medical status," said Hamilton. "We are trying to give them the tools they need to easily manage their units' medical readiness. This will give them a level of predictability for medical readiness that they will be able to work into their training schedule."
The portal not only gives a snapshot of a unit's current readiness, but also what their medical readiness will be in 7, 30, 60 and 90 days. Hamilton said that commanders will be able to use the site's "action items" to get a by name list of Soldiers who are delinquent or will soon be delinquent in certain areas. It will show what Soldiers are in need of items such as their Periodic Health Assessment, immunizations or annual dental exam. The company command team will also be able to see at a glance which of their Soldiers have medical profiles.
"Through the Medical Readiness Transformation we are redesigning the process of medical profiles, which document a Soldier's temporary and permanent medical condition as well as any functional limitations," said Lt. Gen. Nadja West, the Army's surgeon general. "Soldiers will no longer have overlapping temporary profiles and will instead have a single active profile for all conditions."
Instead of having separate profiles for a knee injury, a back problem and dental surgery, the new e-profile gives a Soldier one profile with all the information and limitations on one document. The e-profile will not only show a Soldier's current profiles, but also shows the number of profiles and how many days that Soldier has been on profile over the past 24 months.
"When I was a company commander, Soldiers would have to bring paper copies of their profiles to the company training room," said Hamilton. "The first sergeant would then have to review them and if he had any questions he would have to talk to the unit's medical officer to see what the Soldiers' limitations were.
"This new system will let them look at all of their unit's medical readiness on one portal and then scroll down the list of their Soldiers and click on a Soldiers profile," Hamilton added. "From the profile the commander or first sergeant will be able to communicate directly with the provider through a secure system."
"A Soldier's health is an essential component of his or her readiness. And everything we are doing in Medical Readiness Transformation is designed to enhance Soldier medical readiness," said West. "Subsequently this transformation will enable commanders and my medical staff to more easily manage the readiness or our Soldiers, reducing the number of medically non-deployable Soldiers and retaining combat power."