Testing oximeters
Victoria Rowland tests repaired pulse oximeters at MMOD-Hill, located at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, on Jan. 10, 2019. MMOD-Hill is one of three Medical Maintenance Operations Divisions operated by the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency. (U.S. Air Force photo by R. Nial Bradshaw) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT DETRICK, Md. -- With travel restrictions in place during the COVID-19 response, U.S. Army Medical Logistics Command is embracing virtual channels to continue providing support to medical equipment maintainers in the field.

The command, headquartered at Fort Detrick, has been producing maintenance tip sheets for devices like ventilators and oxygen generators. The sheets are then posted on the AMLC's official website and shared on its Facebook page to spread useful information across the force.

Commander Col. Michael Lalor said the tip sheets have enabled the command to extend expertise at the Medical Maintenance Operations Division (MMOD) level, which is “second to none.”

“Routinely in the past, when a unit has needed our maintenance expertise, we’ve deployed a team called the Forward Repair Activity-Medical (FRA-M) to augment the unit-level maintenance capacity,” he said. “However, during this pandemic, travel restrictions pushed us to change up that strategy.”

The approach during the COVID-19 pandemic has received favorable reviews as well from Gen. Gus Perna, commanding general of Army Materiel Command.

“I think this is innovative thinking and I like where you’re going with this, especially in this situation,” Perna told Lalor during a recent quarterly update briefing.

The AMLC’s website at www.amlc.army.mil/About-Us/Medical-Maintenance-Device-Tips/ serves as a repository for the tip sheets, as well as dozens of FAQ’s for the medical maintenance community. Many FAQ’s have been featured on Facebook as well.

The command’s Facebook page can be found at www.facebook.com/ArmyMedLogCommand. Users are encouraged to share content to increase its reach to those who would find it helpful.

The AMLC also is exploring ways to implement “telemaintenance,” connecting maintainers virtually with units in the field to assist with troubleshooting and repairing complicated medical devices, Lalor said.

“I believe this effort will have an incredible impact on our ability to extend our resources and maximize the expertise inherent in our maintenance depots,” he said.

In addition to providing depot-level maintenance, teams of technicians at the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency’s three MMODs across the country emphasize the need for continued education at the field unit level.

USAMMA, a direct reporting unit to the AMLC, oversees MMODs at Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania; Hill Air Force Base, Utah; and Tracy, California. Each covers a geographical region of the country and/or specializes in different equipment.

Jack Rosarius, director of USAMMA’s Medical Maintenance Management Directorate, said “there is nothing more important” than continuing education and gaining valuable experience when it comes to medical maintenance.

“The most important thing we do when we come in contact with (biomedical equipment technicians) in the field is not just repair and sustain equipment for them, but to mentor them,” he said.