In October, the U.S. Army launched Project Convergence 2021, a six-week exercise designed to bring together personnel from the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps to experiment with more than 100 new technology products to showcase how U.S. Joint Forces can utilize these various items to execute key strategic aims. This second-annual event, held at Army sites in Arizona and New Mexico, focuses on the Soldier-centered design of these products to ensure the tools and/or equipment adopted by the Army meet the stringent requirements of Service Members in the field. The exercise concluded with a summary exhibition day at Yuma Proving Ground on November 9.
This year’s event featured a substantial presence by the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, and included an in-depth product demonstration of the Transport Telemedicine Systems Medical Hands-free Unified Broadcast system – or TTS MEDHUB – which is developed and managed by USAMRDC’s U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity’s Warfighter Health, Performance and Evacuation Project Management Office. Through the use of currently fielded electronic user devices, TTS MEDHUB provides automated hands-free and voice-free communication for triage and controlled medication forms, reducing the burden on medics during patient transport from point-of-injury to a medical treatment facility.
Jay Wang, TTS MEDHUB product manager, executes program acquisition planning, product development and product design for the device. Having led the TTS MEDHUB team for the past five years, he is very aware of both the capabilities and the importance of the system in today’s battlefield environment.
“TTS MEDHUB was created as a solution to the medical communication and documentation capability gap,” said Wang. “Operational assessments and development tests supported the development of software and hardware for the medical mission.”
When asked to elaborate on the importance of the PC21 exercise, and TTS MEDHUB’s participation, Wang was clear on both aspects.
“Project Convergence is the Army’s new campaign of learning, designed to aggressively advance and integrate our Army’s contributions to Joint Force Overmatch. It ensures the Army, as part of the joint fight, can rapidly and continuously integrate effects across all domains to overmatch our adversaries in competition and conflict,” Wang explained.
“Medical currently uses no tactical bandwidth,” he continued. “TTS MEDHUB is the first and only medical program on the Blue Force Tracker tactical satellite network that has received both Air Worthiness Release and Authority to Operate on the Tactical Network.”
Over the past 18 months, the TTS MEDHUB system has been utilized in various scenarios to demonstrate its value and effectiveness in emergency situations, and it has passed each test with praise. In March 2020, the 30th Medical Brigade stationed in Sembach, Germany, requested automated Tactical Combat Casualty Care Documentation Generation and Nursing Station Capability for its Roles 1 through 3 during a field training exercise. Wang said the TTS MEDHUB clinic provided nurses, medics and other staff quick access to individual patient data and offered an increased awareness of the simulated patients’ status, medications, treatments and injuries. This enabled better communication, increased documentation, and more accurate patient records, which will improve patient care going forward.
In addition, the U.S. Army Medical Test and Evaluation Activity conducted an independent operational assessment with TTS MEDHUB during a field training exercise directed by the 44th Medical Brigade at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 2019. Wang said the assessment demonstrated TTS MEDHUB’s operational capability was suitable and effective, supported the medical mission, and facilitated enhanced care for the Warfighter from point-of-injury through Role 3.
Currently, University of Maryland-Baltimore Shock Trauma Center physicians are utilizing TTS MEDHUB for their en route trauma patients on Maryland State Police AW-139 helicopters. Wang said the receiving providers at the UMB Trauma Resuscitative Unit now have better situational awareness regarding the condition of each patient and treatments administered.
Aimee F. Dacanay serves as assistant product manager for the TTS MEDHUB team, heading up product planning, team management, and contract execution. Similar to Wang, she remains confident in the capabilities of the TTS MEDHUB system, and she is proud to demonstrate the device during PC21.
“Our team is pleased that, in July, TTS MEDHUB obtained the Interim Authorization to Test at PC21, and the U.S. Army Futures Command accepted all test artifacts and Cyber Security Scans enabling TTS MEDHUB to integrate, test, and demonstrate system capability on the Integrated Tactical Network during the exercise,” said Dacanay. “TTS MEDHUB is the only medical device to receive IATT for PC21, and the only medical device on the Department of Defense Integrated Tactical Network that is compatible, useable, and safe to operate while on the network. Completion of the IATT and involvement in PC21 validates the system’s interoperability with current and future operational networks, and systems in our military’s All-Domain Operations landscape.”
Wang and his team believe TTS MEDHUB’s near-zero tactical bandwidth is a critical advancement, as the device uses merely 1 byte per second to help save Soldiers’ lives. The system automatically captures and stores medical data from patient care devices wirelessly.
“During the PC21 exercise, TTS MEDHUB will forward medical data to the field hospital through the PC21 Integrated Tactical Network to the TTS MEDHUB Patient Awareness Support System at the Tactical Operations Center and Field Hospital, increasing situational awareness for commanders and the receiving treatment facility. TTS MEDHUB is the only medical program at PC21 integrated with the ITN, and it will be connected to the Future Vertical Lift (82nd Airborne Division aircraft installed with ITN),” Wang explained.
Wang believes the TTS MEDHUB system’s demonstration during PC21 will help benefit commanders, medics and Service Members going forward. In utilizing the system’s capabilities, Wang said commanders have better battlefield situational awareness of casualties, medics have improved documentation with less burden while enabling them to better monitor multiple patients through the system’s automation, and Service Members receive better patient care at adequately prepared deployed hospitals.
“The payoff is a revolutionary type of medical capability, network accessibility, and near-real-time situational awareness for the tactical environment,” said Wang.
USAMMDA is a subordinate command of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, under the Army Futures Command. As the premier developer of world-class military medical capabilities, USAMMDA is responsible for developing and delivering critical products designed to protect and preserve the lives of Warfighters across the globe. These products include drugs, vaccines, biologics, devices and medical support equipment intended to maximize survival of casualties on the battlefield.