Wednesday, December 9, 2009

JTMN Moves Information Faster

The Joint Telemedicine Network (JTMN) used by the military enables volumes of medical imaging data to be transmitted faster to where the information is needed. The need for the JTMN emerged when Lt. Colonel Alfred Hamilton, the operational sponsor for the project went to Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 to visit military healthcare facilities and providers throughout the theater to learn how information technology support could help provide better medical care.

Hamilton reported that it was taking an average of four and one half hours to transmit a single full body CT study of traumatically wounded service members from one medical facility to another. It was also taking more than an hour to transmit a single digital chest x-ray so that in many instances, patients being evacuated would reach the next echelon of care before their medical data and images arrived.

The JTMN team developed the system using satellite communications along with very small aperture terminals with sufficient bandwidth to transmit critical medical data and images. The team successfully achieved initial operational capability for the system in March 2009 and is still working to expand and improve the system.

Now deployed medical personnel can transmit 250 megabit digital x-ray or CT scans within 5 minutes via JTMN. The radiologists are now able to view the images before the patient arrives at the medical treatment facility and also enables the medical team to provide more effective care during the golden hour.

In addition to allowing speedy transmission of medical image files over a satellite network, JTMN enables video teleconferencing, remote consultations, transmission of medical records, and the ordering of class VII medical supplies.