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Officials Seek Enlisted Medical Community’s Input for Web Portal

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 21, 2008 – The Defense Department is looking for input from the enlisted medical community as it sets up a new Web portal that will enable medics and corpsmen to share lessons learned and suggest ways to improve patient care.

The portal will provide a forum for the estimated 80,000 enlisted medical professionals to exchange insights as they share experience and expertise, Dr. Michael E. Kilpatrick, director of strategic communications for the Military Health System, said today during an interview with the Pentagon Channel and American Forces Press Service.

The site will serve enlisted active-duty and reserve-component members of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard. Navy corpsmen serve the Marine Corps.

“This portal is going to be an effort led by the military medical enlisted population for the military medical enlisted population,” Kilpatrick said. “It is really going to be an opportunity for this community to talk among themselves … [about] what really works and how we can continue to improve the care for the patients we are here to serve.”

The emphasis will be on improving both patient care and the efficiency of the health care system, he said. “We want not only to increase efficiency, we want to increase quality.”

Input from enlisted medical professionals is key to balancing these seemingly competing agendas, “because they are the ones doing the hands-on work,” he said.

Kilpatrick said he sees the new portal as a way for medics and corpsmen to suggest everything from how to get patients through the X-ray process faster to how to speed up the way pharmacy technicians fill prescriptions. The site also could provide the venue for medics to suggest better ways of loading a severely injured patient onto a helicopter, along with other lessons learned through operational, on-the-ground experience.

Enlisted medical professionals also will be able to comment on the training they received – what proved valuable and where it needs to be beefed up, Kilpatrick said.

But first, the Defense Department wants to hear what enlisted medical professionals would like in the new site.

“We want them to be the architects,” Kilpatrick said. “What are the features and design elements they want in there?”

A short online survey will be available starting July 24 at www.health.mil will give servicemembers an opportunity to weigh in with their thoughts. “This is their opportunity to shape something brand new,” Kilpatrick said.

Health Affairs officials will compile input received as they start building the new portal in mid-August. The new site is expected to be online before Oct. 1, and it will be password-protected to serve the enlisted military medical community, Kilpatrick said.

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Dr. Michael E. Kilpatrick

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