AWS Public Sector Blog

Delivering secure and operational telemedicine for military combat training with AWS

The Uniformed Services University Health System (USUHS) is the nation’s federal health professions academy, offering a curriculum and educational experience that emphasizes military healthcare, leadership, readiness, and public health. Similar to the U.S. military academies at West Point, Annapolis, and Colorado Springs, students are not charged tuition but repay the nation for their education through service.

Each year, USUHS holds a training exercise called Operation Gunpowder to help prepare third-year medical students for varying field-care challenges they may encounter during their service. The students gain first-hand experience in advanced trauma life support and tactical combat casualty care scenarios, while also gaining a better understanding of group dynamics, small-team leadership, and successful communications strategies during crisis situations.

Over the course of the eight weeks prior to the March 23, 2022 training exercise, Amazon Web Services (AWS) collaborated with Deloitte to deliver ancillary system and operational medicine telemedicine best practice training to the approximately 96 participating students. The pre-work session facilitated rapid, real-time adoption and coordination across clinical and technology domains to define, develop, and execute steps needed to enable the National Emergency Tele-Critical Care Network (NETCCN) to support the military training exercise.

NETCCN, managed by the U.S. Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) is an integral part of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command. NETCCN combines agile infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) cloud computing services with automation to deliver secure virtual health workflows connecting remote experts to local providers necessary to facilitate on-the-ground, point-of-need medical care during crisis situations.

These high acuity, virtual wards serve up high-quality critical care capabilities to nearly every bedside, be it healthcare facility, field hospital, or gymnasium. The AWS technology stack employed by NETCCN includes Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service (Amazon EKS), and AWS Lambda. Additionally, the system pairs AWS Wickr, which has an existing Authority to Operate (ATO), with AWS Private 5G to power the secure, private cellular network required to facilitate conversational artificial intelligence (AI)-driven two-way engagement between the on-site care provider and the remote medical team providing the real-time patient care experience. The network also uses AWS natural language processing (NLP) and automatic speech recognition (ASR) data services, including Amazon Comprehend Medical and Amazon Transcribe to enrich data flowing throughout the platform.

During the Operation Gunpowder training exercise, military clinicians honed their combat medicine skills around tactical combat casualty care and, using the system and network to communicate, managed patient care, organized urgent movements to safe houses, called for casualty evacuation (CASEVAC) and medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), and brought in remote trauma support. “This is the first time telemed has truly delivered,” reported attending experts in special operations medicine.

At the 2022 AWS Summit, Washington, DC during a sponsor session, Deloitte showcased the Operation Gunpowder NETCCN deployment and how it demonstrates the benefits cloud technology can bring to virtual health training exercises and simulations, and how it can support the delivery of austere care at the point of need during crisis situations.

Visit the TATRC NETCCN page to learn more National Emergency Tele-Critical Care Network (NETCCN). Discover more about Operation Gunpowder, and you can learn more about AWS Wickr here. For more about AWS Private 5G, visit the AWS Private 5G main page.

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