Defence Medical Services (DMS) provides the highest quality medical care to military personnel, specifically in remote and challenging locations. They need to establish secure and cost-effective communications to enable them to access additional clinical input remotely.
Project LARA brings together several separate innovation capabilities to deliver a more coherent deployed telemedicine solution – as soon as possible. This will underpin the ability of the DMS to meet its duty of care to deployed personnel, especially in remote locations. SA Group’s consultants joined the team to provide end-to-end planning, P3M project management and technical expertise.
Building on the other DMS case studies, this one concentrates on Battlefield Assisted Trauma Distributed Observation Kit (BATDOK) – an Android-based application that was developed in the USA and enables the wireless monitoring of multiple patients at the point of injury. It also captures treatment history and facilitates the handover of patients at evacuation, and at the next level of care. When used with the Android Team Awareness Kit (ATAK) application and networked together, it is enhanced with situational awareness providing Combat Medical Technicians, evacuation teams and field hospitals with a live medical picture.
SA Group consultants embedded within the Project LARA team were tasked with providing the necessary support to enable the evaluation of BATDOK as a suitable capability to enhance current deployed medical ways of working.
BATDOK needed to be procured from the USA then integrated with a suitable bearer system before a proof-of-concept trial could be carried out. Our Business Analyst paved the way for the procurement of BATDOK, assisting with the Statement of Requirements and the development of the Business Case. This allowed our Project Manager to acquire the necessary hardware and applications and then coordinate the development and verification of activities, providing governance and control measures along the way.
Verification was caried out by our Test Manager who used an Agile approach to test BATDOK in its out-of-the box state, through to its integration with ATAK on managed Android devices. Having produced a suite of repeatable test cases in a representative environment he was able to use the ‘test once, use the data many times philosophy’ over multiple variants of the applications.
For validation, our Test Manager coordinated the trial activities that enabled BATDOK to be trialled by real end users during a Medical Regiments annual validation exercise that was conducted in Cyprus. To facilitate this, our technical expert supported the design and implementation of a network that allowed all the Android devices to communicate with each other over Mobile Ad-Hoc Network (MANET) radios.
Project LARA including the SA Group consultants travelled to Cyprus in early February to undertake a full evaluation of BATDOK. In keeping with the proposed ‘crawl, walk, run’ phased approach, the Medical Unit received their final tranche of equipment and application training. Simultaneously the team built, configured, and tested the BATDOK network to ensure it remained operational for the duration of the exercise and over the allocated terrain.
Throughout the actual exercise period, the Medical Unit utilised BATDOK in the first instance as opposed to the manual methods they were familiar with at the point of injury – at the evacuation cell and in the field hospital. As expected, technical problems were encountered, but the team were able to quickly analyse and resolve these. The system was well received, and the initial analysis of user feedback was very positive. From a project perspective it was proved that BATDOK could be used to enhance the methods of working, and to enable the passage of patient data from the point of wounding, through the Patient Care Pathway to a field hospital in an innovative way. The success of this evaluation trial will enable DMS to provide the necessary evidence to the MOD that BATDOK, or a system with similar functionality, has a place on the battlefield.
As a closing note, in the early hours of 6 February a 7.8 magnitude earthquake devastated southeast Turkey near the Syrian border. This was one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the area. Some of the Medical Unit were immediately redeployed to provide international aid, and SA Group are proud to have assisted in the reconfiguration of some intended trial equipment to support this emergency effort.