Getting medical equipment to wounded warfighters

DIG IT AWARD FINALIST: Big Data, Analytics and Visualization

Getting medical equipment to wounded warfighters

The faster that wounded warfighters can be treated, the more likely they are to survive. That means coordinating medical teams and tens of thousands of specialized equipment items among more than 100 aeromedical evacuation service sites. 

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The Patient Movement Items Asset Tracking System (PMI-ATS) -- which communicates across networks operated by the Army, Navy, National Guard and  Reserves -- uses RFID tracking and an innovative enterprisewide asset management system to ensure that the military has the medical equipment it needs, when and where it needs it, to aid any wounded warfighter.

When the wounded need transport, personnel assemble critical care and inflight kits made up of supplies and PMI equipment tailored to mission requirements. Team members use RFID technology to track each piece of equipment on its journey to the patient and then on to its next mission.

Randall Rodgers, the lead for the project and deputy chief of medical readiness at the Air Mobility Command, said PMI-ATS directly influences the survivability of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen.

The system can also help during civil emergencies. “Just this month, [Air Mobility Command] was called on to support a humanitarian effort for a hurricane potentially advancing on Louisiana,” Rodgers said. “Within hours, the PMI staff scrambled eight preconfigured, deployable PMI tracking kits to designated PMI tracking teams prior to their departure…. The flexibility of the system and the RFID technology being used make this system particularly effective in supporting these emergency events, assisting with location of devices and [helping] to recycle those assets back to support more urgent requirements.”

The system has increased the speed with which the miltary takes stock and delivers medical assets by 15 percent, and swiftness can mean better medical care. PMI-ATS also improves inventory accuracy at a time when many other departments are still using printouts and spreadsheets to keep track of millions in assets. A recent tracking system audit at one PMI site showed a 99.5 percent accuracy rate. 

About the Author

Suzette Lohmeyer is a freelance writer based in Arlington, Va.

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