Innovative MEDHUB System is Showcased to Future Users in Germany
Members of the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity's Warfighter Health, Performance and Evacuation Project Management Office's team travelled to Landstuhl, Germany, in March to perform a capability demonstration of the innovative system called Medical Hands-free Unified Broadcast, or MEDHUB. This system will be fielded to U.S. Army Soldiers, doctors and nurses.
The live, in-person demonstration took place at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. The demonstration was integrated as part of a larger field training exercise, conducted by the 421st Medical Battalion, to ensure medical readiness in Germany.
The U.S. Army's Multi-Domain Operations strategy revolves around its ability to fight and win across any battlespace–land, sea, air, space and cyberspace – as part of the joint force. The MDO strategy calls for equipment to be interoperable with U.S. Army sister Services, multinational teams, allies and partners.
In alignment with MDO, the WHPE PMO supported the multifunctional event and trained U.S. Army and German personnel. This included briefing veterinary surgeons, medical personnel, and company and field grade commanders on the various capabilities of MEDHUB via tactical military networks. This field training exercise was in preparation for Defender-Europe 2020 which is the deployment of a division-size combat-credible force from the United States to Europe. The Office of The Surgeon General requested the MEDHUB team participate in the field training exercise after hearing of its capabilities from a staff member who saw it being demonstrated.
"Doctors, nurses and medics have never used the network before. In the near future, they will suddenly need to know how to get the MEDHUB network up and running. We are familiarizing them with this program, which will be fielded to them in the future," said Jay Wang, WHPE PMO product manager.
Modernization of technology is vital as the Army prepares for future conflicts. The MEDHUB system uses smart automation technology to simplify the exchange of patient information during life-or-death situations. In a standard Army ambulance, one medic may treat up to six patients. MEDHUB uses U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medical devices integrated with a smart tablet and the existing Department of Defense tactical satellite network to transmit patient information to the receiving hospital. The system enhances situational awareness by allowing the deployed hospitals to see near-real-time patient status, giving them more time to strategize and prepare for incoming patients.
Not only did the USAMMDA WHPE PMO's visit to Germany allow the team to communicate the capabilities of MEDHUB to future users, but it also allowed for integration with our European defense forces resulting in increased readiness, as well as the integration of MEDHUB with some of our units in theater.
"We are excited to build a long-standing relationship with the 30th Medical Brigade in Germany," said Wang. "As a result of our participation, they are looking forward to being one of the first to receive MEDHUB upon its fielding. They invited us back in April to support Defender 2020 and other exercises."
During the field training exercise, MEDHUB supported Roles of Care 1 and 2 MEDEVAC operations. With Soldiers acting as casualties, the running exercises showed ground ambulances and helicopters with and without MEDHUB. Without the help of MEDHUB, medics face a documentation burden which draws their focus away from patient care. MEDHUB reduces medic burden by allowing them to complete a Tactical Combat Casualty Care card faster and with twice the accuracy compared to pen and paper.
"My hands-on experience with the system was very intuitive. As soon as I picked up the devices, I was able to navigate with ease with minimal direction and guidance," said Army Capt. Sebastian Coates, commander of the 557th Medical Company (Area Support), 421st Medical Battalion (Multifunctional), 30th Medical Brigade, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Europe.
During the 72-hour field exercise, casualties were transported to hospitals with and without the use of MEDHUB. Without MEDHUB, deployed hospitals typically receive patient information from the MEDEVAC vehicle in the form of a radio call five minutes before the patients arrive. With MEDHUB, three distinct advantages were demonstrated.
The first advantage is the ability to see the estimated time of arrival from the moment that MEDHUB devices are connected to the patient. This allows the hospital to plan accordingly for patient movement once the casualty reaches the Medical Treatment Facility.
Second, the devices send the patient's vitals to the receiving MTF with near real-time accuracy.
Third, the system allows the MTF to see how many patients they will be receiving. During the demonstration, the receiving field hospitals utilized the MEDHUB Patient Awareness Support System, and they found it provides a situational awareness they had been unable to obtain prior.
Army Capt. Joshua Brown Somma, Role of Care 1 physician assistant for the 557th Medical Company Area Support, 421st Multifunctional Medical Brigade oversaw the medical treatment and movement of the patients during the field training exercise. He used MEDHUB for the first time to track patient status.
"As a PA, I would have loved to have this on my last deployment. I like that you can archive patient treatment information and re-print as needed," said Somma. "This is the right direction for Role [of Care] 1 medicine to be moving. It is really an asset to Army medical professionals."
This display of field use in a multi-partner operational exercise showcased North Atlantic Treaty Organization capabilities and was a great opportunity for the MEDHUB program to interface with the end user.
"Our participation was important because we were able to show key stakeholders in the military medical community, and every medic that will get their hands on MEDHUB, that this capability exists and it's coming," said Wang.
The Army must be ready to conduct major operations in the face of high intensity conflict. With the help of innovative medical devices and systems such as MEDHUB, the U.S. Army will be ready for any mass casualty scenario. USAMMDA will continue to modernize and strategize its medical equipment to make our Army stronger and more resilient than ever before.
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.