By Mr. John Brooks (Army Medicine)March 22, 2019
Soldiers at remote Fort Leonard Wood training locations can soon see a provider without visiting the hospital, thanks to an encrypted telehealth system slated for field use here April 3.
The Mobile Medic program allows a provider and patient to see each other through the use of a secure teleconference camera operated by a Medic detailed to provide support during a field training event.
"The goal for the Mobile Medic program at Fort Leonard Wood is to increase access to care for the patient while they are out in the field," said Sgt. Joshua Rath, Virtual MEDCEN Mobile Medic Squad Leader from Brooke Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
Without the Mobile Medic system, a typical Soldier might lose four or five hours of training time visiting the Consolidated Troop Medical Clinic, and risk missing the training event or even be recycled to the next class, said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Robins, Noncommissioned Officer in Charge of the General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital Mobile Medic team and NCOIC of GLWACH Department of Surgery.
"We essentially call (the provider) like you would Facetime on the iPhone," Robins said. "We introduce them to our patient. We let them know what's going on and the doctor will just tell us if they want to see the arm or if they want to see the back of the throat or inside the ear. We can upload those pictures into the patient's notes as well."
The GLWACH Mobile Medic team underwent a week of system training and is slated to field the system here during a proof of concept mission scheduled during an upcoming basic training field exercise.
Since military working dogs can be patients too, there are three GLWACH Veterinarian Techs and a Veterinarian provider on the team, in addition to the six GLWACH Medics and a provider from the hospital.
The Medic or Vet Tech, as the case may be, brings three briefcase-sized Mobile Medic equipment containers to the training site filled with various peripheral devices to help the provider develop a diagnosis.
A real-time, high-resolution camera attached to the end of a flexible cable, an otoscope, electrocardiogram leads, and several other attachments can be connected, facilitated by the Medic or Vet Tech, to allow the provider access to real-time patient data, images and video.
Today's Soldiers are comfortable with this kind of technology, Robins said.
"Soldiers do virtual communications with their friends on a day-to-day basis," Robins said. "I believe this will be very successful."