Kevin J. Orr, Director
Regional Health Command -- Atlantic
FORT GORDON, Ga., Feb. 21, 2019 -- In August 2016, the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Blanchfield Army Community Hospital Telehealth, Europe Regional Medical Command Telehealth and Eisenhower Army Medical Center Telehealth partnered in a pilot program to support forward-deployed special forces medics with video, email and telephonic consultative services using EAMC's on-call specialty care providers. The provider specialties included orthopedic surgery, general surgery and critical care.
The pilot program used cellular phones and an automated call tree (located at BACH) to route calls from deployed Special Operations Forces medics to a specific EAMC specialty, and then used cellular enabled tablets or EAMC computer workstations with video conferencing software to facilitate a video chat session to provide consultation.
In the initial four months of the program, four consultations -- three from orthopedic surgery and one general surgery consult -- were performed. These consultations prevented costly and difficult medical evacuations from austere locations. These initial consultations also provided valuable proof-of-concept feedback that proved how CONUS specialists could support deployed SOF medical personnel through synchronous telephone and video as well as via asynchronous (store and forward) capabilities.