By Bob Fehringer, U.S. Transportation Command
SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. – Medical personnel from all services and many federal agencies attended the Global Patient Movement Joint Advisory Board June 27-29 at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
Col. David O’Brien, command surgeon for U.S. Transportation Command, welcomed more than 100 doctors, nurses, medical technicians and healthcare workers who are responsible for patient movement around the world.
“The GPMJAB is a group of people who visit us twice a year to talk about patient movement throughout the theater,” O’Brien said. “We have members from all services, from all the COCOMs (combatant commands) and from several of our federal interagency partners who join us to find out the latest in how we’re improving patient movement, as well as to offer suggestions on how we might do it in the future.”
According to O’Brien, the GPMJAB has met for five years.
“It’s always been a readjustment to look at what our customers in the field require, so we can improve both efficiency and clinical safety,” O’Brien said. “We move patients from all over the world, from the Pacific, from South America, from Africa. Some of that is easy, and some of that is difficult. And by getting together we can talk about how we can make the difficult a little bit easier or at the very least a little bit safer.
“We include several working groups prior to the meeting,” O’Brien continued, “and it’s all about making patient movement better for our service members and their family members throughout the world.”
Lt. Cmdr. William Howes, from the USTRANSCOM’s command surgeon’s office, helped arrange the event.
“The purpose of the forum hosted by USTRANSCOM’s command surgeon is to set the strategic direction for relevant and effective patient-centered care,” Howes said, “and to bring together patient movement subject matters from all services.”
According to Howes, USTRANSCOM is in charge of the Global Patient Movement Joint Integration Center which provides medical regulating and aeromedical evacuation scheduling for the continental United States and inter theater operations and provides support to the theater patient movement requirements centers.
“We have one in Europe, we have one in the Pacific and we have one here called Theater Patient Movement Requirements Center Americas, for North and South America,” Howes said.
“Part of that integration and standardization is what they’re discussing, because right now everybody isn’t speaking the same language, where we do the same type of movement.” Howes continued, “We’re trying to standardize those, so we’re able to talk the same language and move patients the same way.”
That synchronization is vitally important because, he said, “In the past year, we’ve moved over 13,000 patients in our DOD patient movement system, supporting mainly service members. We continue to look for better ways to move them, safer ways to move them, despite an excellent record of safety and care.
“We believe there’s better and safer ways to move them,” O’Brien added, “and we’ll continue to find those ways so that their family members and their neighbors, whoever they might be who serve, will get the absolute best care available.”