Background: After-action reviews (AARs) in the Prehospital Trauma Registry (PHTR) enable performance improvements and provide commanders feedback on care delivered at Role 1. No published data exist exploring overall trends of end-user performance-improvement feedback. Methods: We performed an expert panel review of AARs within the PHTR in Afghanistan from January 2013 to September 2014. When possible, we categorized our findings and selected relevant medical provider comments. Results: Of 737 registered patient encounters found, 592 (80%) had AAR documentation. Most AAR patients were male (98%, n = 578), injured by explosion (48%, n = 283), and categorized for urgent evacuation (64%, n = 377). Nearly two thirds of AARs stated areas needing improvement (64%, n = 376), while the remainder left the improvement section blank (23%, n = 139) or specified no improvements (13%, n = 76). The most frequently cited areas for improvement were medical knowledge (23%, n = 136), evacuation coordination (19%, n = 115), and first responder training (16%, n = 95). Conclusions: Our expert panel reviewed AARs within the PHTR and found substantial numbers of AARs without improvements recommended, which limits quality improvement capabilities. Our analysis supports previous calls for better documentation of medical care in the prehospital combat setting.
Background: While the US military has relied on the "Golden Hour" for casualty evacuation in Iraq and Afghanistan during most of the last two decades, Special Operations Forces (SOF) personnel have found themselves operating further outside of this established medical infrastructure. This has required prolonged casualty care beyond doctrinal timelines. Telemedicine is increasingly used by medical personnel to bridge this gap, augmenting the local staff with the expertise of a distant consultant. This pilot study was launched to establish a baseline of current SOF telemedical capabilities. Methods: This is a cross-sectional study of a 292 Department of Defense (DoD) SOF medical personnel via an online questionnaire during the period of October 2018-May 2019. Results: Approximately 16.1% of the 292 respondents stated they received telemedicine equipment, 51.1% of respondents who received telemedicine equipment reported also receiving training on their equipment. Overall, 40.6% of respondents were "actively looking to add telemedicine to their practice," with prolonged field care as the primary intended use. Ideal characteristics of telemedicine equipment were described as a device weighing 6 lb or less, with real-time video and ultrasound transmission capabilities. Discussion: The data demonstrated a gap between provider demand for telemedicine capabilities and their comfort to employ these capabilities downrange. Conclusions: This study suggests a need to increase the self-reported telemedicine competency of deployed local providers. Authors believe that this is best accomplished through incorporation of early integration of teleconsulting systems into mission rehearsals and unit exercises. Further study should be considered to investigate the efficacy of ongoing acquisition and training programs, along with how telemedicine is being incorporated in the unit during the predeployment training period.