In 2003 there was a problem with patient accountability at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center.
Incoming ambulatory patients would arrive for a short stay and end up missing appointments and going unaccounted. Now, nobody slips through the cracks.
It’s due to the LRMC developed Deployed Warrior Medical Management Center Patient Information Application or DWMMC-PIA. Prior to the information system, outpatients would be on their own, expected to make and show up for doctor appointments.
“It was a problem, no doubt about it,” said Lt. Col. Richard Jordan, LRMC deputy commander of outlying clinics. “The old system could not handle the demands that the influx of wounded servicemembers put on it. We needed a solution, fast.”
Colonel Jordan teamed up with the Information Management Division and Maj. Mike Fravell, LRMC chief information officer, and went to work developing the concept of the DWMMC-PIA.
As a result, LRMC leadership applied for and received funding under the global war on terrorism to develop an internal tracking and reporting mechanism that could meet its internal management needs and compliment existing computerized systems in use across the Army.
The PIA does more than just enter names. It tracks patient progress as they make their way through LRMC.
The system debuted in January and made an immediate impact on DWMMC efficiency by providing instantaneous patient tracking information at a 25 percent decrease in staffing requirements.
“The efficiency of the system is a great advantage to our staff,” said Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Parks, DWMMC assistant NCOIC. “It saves a lot of time by consolidating all the information in one system instead of going to four or five sources. It gives us instant access to pertinent information and works for us instead of having a bunch of people floating around a computer trying to re-invent the wheel.”
LRMC staff members are not the only ones who appreciate the benefits of the new information system. Visiting senior leaders from the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy have been impressed by the capabilities that had been built into the Web-based system.
Within a few months of its debut, the DWMMC-PIA was demonstrated to military and civilian governmental leaders who were looking for a solution to rapid and accurate patient tracking and reporting.
Many other applications under development also were demonstrated, but in the end, the DWMMC-PIA was given the nod to proceed with further development.
“There are still improvements to be made,” said Colonel Jordan. “There are lots of things that we could and should do to it. First and foremost, is to make it accessible to the entire military health care system.”
The program is now competing for both the Army technology of the year and the Army Surgeon General Excalibur awards. Adoption by the other services is underway as an interim Joint Patient Tracking System.
“Little did we realize, given the multi-service and multi-national nature of the reporting needs that the PIA was developed to meet, that it would soon compete as a potential Joint Service Patient Tracking Application at the Department of Defense military health system level,” said Colonel Jordan.