Naval Medics Are Going Digital

Figuring there had to be a better way of keeping track of available beds, medical equipment and blood supplies in the field, rather than depending on information relayed by phone and then scribbled on a white board with a grease pencil, the Office of Naval Research has come up with an answer - NavMedWatch. It is a computer network that will illuminate all the available medical resources in one visual map display.

"This tool will allow us to view what is going on across a region, react to current scenarios and conduct reactive planning to support current and future operations," said Capt. Michael Sashin, head of Medical Plans and Policy for the Chief of Naval Operations.

The map display will track trends in injuries and diseases in an area, allowing medical facilities to better manage their resources and contain contagious diseases by juxtaposing data from a medical database with a medical facility and its available beds, staff, blood, supplies and equipment. The system will also provide alerts to patients in need of transportation to another medical facility.

"NavMedWatch allows you to pull the information out, organize it and put it in a display so you can see all your medical assets with one tool," said Cmdr. Stephen Ahlers, Office of Naval Research program manager for the project.

Even though NavMedWatch is still in the testing phase, the next version offering even more information is in the works by ScenPro Inc. of Richardson, Texas under a Small Business Innovation Research program contract. The new version will be able to anticipate the needs of future arrivals so supplies such as blood will be on hand - avoiding shortfalls. It will also be equipped with a history function, so the medical care of even one person can be tracked throughout the Naval medical care system.

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