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DHA, NATO Collaborate to Achieve Military Medical Interoperability

Military personnel looking at a laptop screen JFTC Commander, Polish Major General Adam Joks, visits nations that are testing interoperability of Communication and Information systems at JFTC. The ability of multinational units to act together is the foundation for all NATO operations (Courtesy of NATO Joint Force Training Center).

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Last month, the Defense Health Agency played a lead role in the NATO Coalition Warrior Interoperability Exercise 2021 which ran from 7-25 June in Bydgoszcz, Poland.

DHA representatives and teams from Belgium, Germany, Finland, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom tested OpenAHLTA along with multiple national systems to demonstrate interoperability through the electronic transfer of health records from the point of injury back to the patient's national healthcare system.

"Federated interoperability continues to be a main focus among NATO nations and partner organizations," said Mark Goodge, chair of the NATO COMEDS Health Information Systems & Technology Working Group (HIST-WG). "The medical scenarios tested during CWIX provide invaluable learning opportunities to enhance decision-making, improve communication, and accelerate medical response among allied nations and for future NATO-led missions."

During CWIX 21, three medical scenarios explored medical response to combat search and rescue, civilians on the battlefield, and disease surveillance in which a syndrome is identified and potential operational impact is assessed.

Specifically, medical demonstrations between the U.S., Belgium, Netherlands and Finland tested OpenAHLTA and other national systems with the goal of successfully transferring patient treatment records through the continuum of care back into the patient's national electronic healthcare record. The exercise also experimented with the passage of clinical information from one national system to another, a first in CWIX history.

"We are proud to represent the United States and donate OpenAHLTA to allied members and partner organizations," Goodge said. He added that, when combined with NATO capabilities, OpenAHLTA delivers a force multiplying effect to enhance medical decision support and data interoperability throughout the mission command and control lifecycle.

OpenAHLTA is open source and enables NATO nations to remain agile, connected and resilient. OpenAHLTA is also able to perform in low or no communications environments, and uses the latest medical standard language terminology.

Goodge added that supporting nations during CWIX 2021 medical demonstrations not only strengthened relationships within the NATO alliance, but also improved the U.S.'s MHS ability to support military readiness and deliver seamless and secure healthcare worldwide.

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