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Deployment Health Surveillance

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The Gulf War drove home the need for a comprehensive deployment health surveillance system. Gulf War health questions have resulted in controversy over potentially hazardous exposures during the deployment, the possibility of adverse affects from preventive health measures, and the role of stress in causing chronic illness. The lack of comprehensive deployment health surveillance has made it difficult to determine possible causes of adverse health effects reported by Gulf War veterans. In response, the military health system has undergone a fundamental reorientation. Today, a bold deployment health surveillance initiative, called the Theater Medical Information Program TMIP, is part of a layered force health protection system. TMIP is a very large information system that will integrate several service medical information systems to ensure interoperable support for rapid mobilization, deployment, and sustainment of all theater medical services in support of any mission. TMIP is being implemented incrementally, and one of the first elements to be fielded is the Joint Medical Workstation JMeWS, which was deployed in January 2003 to support Operation Iraqi Freedom. JMeWS is a Web based application that allows commanders and medical planners to monitor the physical well being of their service members and theater medical treatment facilities capabilities. JMeWS provides the capability to view information at the theatre level or to drill down to patient records. Information collected can also be analyzed for health trends, which has already proven to be effective Early last spring, the JMeWS system showed a sharp upward trend in service members in the Iraq theatre who were treated for combat stress. Commanders reacted by quickly sending combat stress specialists into the field to help troops cope with the stress. TMIP development will continue through incremental deployments of subsystems like JMeWS until full TMIP implementation is achieved.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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