The Battle for Development in the Field of Military Medicine

by Callum Moore

Back in the 15th century, soldiers that were injured during conflict were typically left on the battlefield for two to three days until their condition either stabilised or they died. Thankfully since the efforts of surgeon Ambroise Paré in the same century, (one of the forerunners in improving medical treatment for injured soldiers), the care that soldiers receive today is much safer, quicker and well organised.

Our British Ministry of Defence delivers health services for around 200,000 service personnel, 50,000 dependants and many veterans each year. The needs of these individuals vary from emergency battlefield traumas to normal health concerns. To monitor this, the MOD uses a system known as Integrated Systems Health Management (ISHM) which is used across the worldwide defence sector. In order to connect with the ISHM a small tracking device is required to be worn, this enables the persons' health to be regularly tracked.

A wearable medical device in these circumstances is most useful when it is reporting emergency data. In the army, this means that it’s likely that the soldier has been injured in some way, usually by a heavy impact or an explosion. Therefore any type of device being used must be able to do two things; withstand such impact, but also to report quickly.  This will ensure that information is accurately & swiftly reported back to the Integrated System. An example of medical tracking device which is used within the MOD is a product made by Remote DiagnosticTechnologies (RDT), recently acquired by Phillips, called Tempus Pro, this device transmits medical data such as blood pressure, pulse and respiratory rate back to the treatment teams and medical facilities and allows rapid response if the necessary.

There may be a lot more to ponder when treating modern-day soldiers than in the days of Ambroise Paré, nevertheless, the use of portable and wearable devices now means that injured soldiers can be monitored and treated much more effectively.

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