Surgeons General Emphasize Readiness as Priority in Military Medicine > U.S. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE > Article

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2017 —
Readiness is the priority of the Military Health System, the surgeons general of the Army, Navy and Air Force told the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee today.

Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Nadja Y. West, Navy Vice Adm. (Dr.) C. Forrest Faison III and Air Force Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Mark A. Ediger testified at a hearing on defense health.

Army Medicine

“Readiness, without question, remains my No. 1 priority,” West said, noting that Army medicine over the past year launched aggressive efforts to expand access and improve quality for all it serves, including adding 836,000 more specialty care appointments in 2016.

“Our most promising initiative to bring care closer to our patients is virtual health, … with services spanning 30 countries and territories over 30 clinical specialties,” the Army surgeon general said.

Potential uses of virtual health capabilities include remotely monitoring patient vitals, providing virtual consultations, and letting medics provide combat casualty care or treat a combat casualty, West said, adding that virtual health also is a way to revolutionize access in garrison faculties, at patients’ homes or at points of injury.

Advances also have been made in preventing and treating infectious diseases such as Zika virus and treating physical and mental combat-related wounds, she said.

Army medicine also is preparing for the years ahead, West said, telling the subcommittee that “capabilities required to support the future operating environment are going to look much different than they do today.”

In a multidomain battle environment, the Army may not have uninterrupted air superiority, affecting the ability to conduct on-demand patient medical evacuations, she said. In that case, she added, medics and other early responders may be called on to provide more complex, prolonged field care.

Providing an example of scaling and reconfiguring…

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