Navy Medicine Optimizes Supply Management

Story Number: NNS100526-04Release Date: 5/26/2010 10:46:00 AM
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By Doris Ryan, Public Affairs Officer, Naval Medical Research Center

SILVER SPRING, MD (NNS) -- In conventional military operations it is challenging to accurately estimate the medical supplies necessary to adequately supply military medical personnel in the field, especially in combat situations. Researchers from the Modeling and Simulation Group at the Naval Health Research Center in San Diego invented a computer program that enables a user to identify specific injuries and illnesses, and then determine the medical tasks required to treat each patient and determine the supplies and equipment required to perform each task.

This patient-generating model projects the frequency of specific injures and illnesses likely to occur in a particular theater of operation.

"Casualty stream data, known or estimated, is married to medical tasks and the supplies used therein to determine what's needed in a particular theater of operations. We can use predefined operational scenarios like 'Northeast Asia' or 'Heavy Battle Intensity' or a specific scenario constructed by the user. Then this tool can estimate the medical supplies needed to carry out medical care at a specific level of care, for example in a triage situation or in a forward operating room," said Dr. Paula Konoske, department head, and one of the inventors on the team. "This planning tool has the potential to calculate the medical needs for military operational deployments and for training purposes."

"We have completed exercises with this program and achieved substantial reductions of up to 30 percent in the number of items and weight of specific supply blocks," Konoske added.

"Dr. Konoske and her team now routinely conduct medical supply optimization studies for the Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force - anyone that needs to be light and fast. They are also involved in efforts to optimize supply sets for humanitarian and disaster relief missions," said Dr. Karl Van Orden, Director of Research and Development at NHRC.

The program includes selected levels of care such as First Responder, Battalion Aid Station, Forward Resuscitative Surgery/Shock Trauma Platoon, Surgical Company, Small Ship/Independent Duty Corpsman, Submarines, Landing Ship and Aircraft carriers. It also includes medical facilities where a patient will receive treatment such as triage, operating room, wards, x-ray and laboratory, battle dressing station, portable medical locker, first-aid boxes, emergency response kits, junior emergency response kits and dental.

The Naval Medical Research Center's Office of Legal and Technology Services promotes innovative discoveries made by Navy Medicine's researchers and scientists. The team supports over eight naval research laboratories throughout the U.S. and around the world, plus all of the Navy Military Treatment Facilities. Since 1999, the team has received over 150 patents and applications that cover a wide range of technologies. Fields of research from the biomedical, environmental, dental, aerospace, and biological warfare defense industries focus on finding solutions to both conventional and battlefield medical problems. Many of these technologies have affected the lives of millions around the world in the form of vaccines, hand-held assays, molecular diagnostics, and confirmatory analysis.

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