The Bayonet

Tuesday, Jul. 15, 2014

Surgeon general hosts virtual town hall

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WASHINGTON - Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, Army surgeon general and commanding general of the U.S. Army Medical Command, hosted the first Army Medicine Virtual Town Hall on Facebook July 9.

Horoho opened the Town Hall by welcoming participants to the Army Medicine Facebook page and sharing that she was looking forward to answering as many questions as possible during the one-hour window.

Any questions not answered by her or the subject-matter experts working with her, she promised would be answered in the coming weeks.

Horoho also used the opening post to share her priorities for Army Medicine:

• Combat casualty care

• Readiness and health of the force

• A ready and deployable medical force

• Health of Families and retirees

Horoho's opening post also announced the release of the Performance Triad app, version 1.0. This app provides easy access on iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and Windows phones to the triad that emphasizes sleep, activity and nutrition as the foundation to health and personal readiness.

In the one hour that the town hall was "live," a total of 133 comments were posted, asking questions ranging from medical innovation to budget-cut impacts, and various inquiries in between.

When asked about new military medical innovations, Horoho said, "the Biomarker Assessment for Neurotrauma Diagnosis and Improved Triage System program is developing a blood test for brain cell damage, which may aid in clinical assessment of patients with traumatic brain injuries."

In addition to BANDITS, she said the Army developed and implemented the Behavioral Health Data Portal to track clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and risk factors.

"Research continues to determine how to optimize sleep, activity and nutrition to optimize the wellness of our Soldiers, Families and retirees," she added.

When asked to elaborate on the care being provided for wounded warriors, Horoho explained the functions of the Army's Warrior Care and Transition Program.

"Wounded, ill and injured Soldiers and their Families receive the care and support they require to heal and either return to the force or prepare to transition to civilian status," she replied. "As part of the program, the Army has established Warrior Transition Units, the Army Wounded Warrior Program and an Adaptive Reconditioning Program to manage and assist Soldiers in their recovery."

When asked which initiatives she was most proud of, she said there are several she is "extremely proud" of as she believes they are directly related to improving patient care. Patient Caring Touch System, Performance Triad and the Behavioral Data Portal were the three she chose to highlight.

When asked about the most significant challenges facing Army medicine, Horoho said that "one of the biggest challenge(s) is getting the good news stories out that accurately describe the advances in technology, patient safety, quality of care and standardization of business practices."

Additionally, supporting a nation as well as multiple operations abroad efficiently with such a significant military downsizing poses a challenge, she said.

Lastly, Horoho said the movement toward a culture of health and increasing health literacy continues to be not just a challenge, but also an opportunity to enlighten the general public about healthy practices.

These and many more questions were addressed by the surgeon general and her staff of experts well after the scheduled end time for the event.

Later, Horoho posted another status on the Army Medicine page thanking participants for taking the time to voice their concerns.

She discussed plans to hold Town Halls regularly with a commitment to answering all questions circulating in the Army Medicine community.

Horoho closed out the session by articulating the highest priorities of Army Medicine.

"Our primary focus is patient safety and quality of care whether it is provided on the battlefield or in garrison. We are committed to providing timely access to care, quality care and safe care, that is evidence-based to all of our beneficiaries in an environment of transparency and continuous improvement. This is at the forefront of everything we do and we are honored to do it."

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