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The Army’s Newest Mission: To Transform the Healthcare System

Compliments of: Dana Crudo  |  Health.mil

Army medical personnel are transforming the way they treat patients in the hopes of reducing preventable diseases and injuries, decreasing health care costs and ultimately leading the military and the nation to better health.

Army leaders, soldiers, providers and staff members at all Army regional medical commands, major subordinate commands, medical treatment facilities and clinics received training Aug. 8 on new proactive approaches to addressing diseases and injuries. The Stand Up for Health Training Day provided a glimpse of this new focus of Army medicine.

“We often find ourselves as a fix-it shop,” said Lt. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho, Army surgeon general.  “Almost 70 percent of the diseases we treat are attributable to preventable diseases.”

In the face of deep budget cuts, Horoho said this way of doing business must change.

She shared her vision of transforming the health care system to a “system of health” that works with soldiers and their families to help them adopt healthy habits and behaviors.

Horoho cited numerous statistics during her speech that convey the poor health status of soldiers and the nation as a whole, including the high rates of obesity and the leading causes of death today, all of which are influenced by lifestyle.

“Today’s health challenges result from the individual decisions made each and every day, but it doesn’t have to be that way,” she said. “All of us together can influence the choices that our service members and families are making…which is key to preventing illness.”

Horoho plans to achieve this goal through a trailblazing new concept called the Performance Triad. This approach, based on the latest science, guides soldiers and their families to better health by focusing on three key components:  physical activity, nutrition and sleep.

”It is proactive in identifying, assessing and mitigating unhealthy behaviors before they become significant concerns,” she said.

The effects could be far-reaching, said Barbara Ryan, R.N., training, education and communication lead for the Performance Triad. “Improving behaviors around activity, nutrition and sleep has the potential to optimize performance, mental health and physical health, overall unit readiness and the resilience of the total force,” she said.

Experts trained Army medical personnel on how to prescribe physical activity, nutrition and sleep to address chronic diseases. “Giving a pill is the easiest treatment,” said Col. William Frey, a sleep medicine consultant for the Performance Triad. “But behavioral change is the preferred treatment.”

Brig. Gen. Patrick Sargent, deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Army Medical Command, called on Army medical personnel to help make these behavioral changes happen by influencing their patients outside of the 100 minutes a year on average that they spend in their office with each of them.

Army medical personnel also learned about mobile apps and personal readiness devices that can help their patients get started by tracking their physical activity, nutrition and sleep.

“We can reach patients through technological solutions to help them achieve their goals in a more efficient way” said Lt. Col. Deydre Teyhen, deputy director of the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center.

Horoho directed Army medical personnel to take what they learn that day to lead the nation to better health.

“We have got to be the ones who are dramatically improving the system,” she said. “When we make a change, we can have a global impact.”

The Performance Triad supports the Army’s existing Ready and Resilient Campaign.

A six-month Performance Triad pilot program will start this fall at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Fort Bliss and Fort Bragg. A toolkit for leaders and guide for soldiers will also be released soon.

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About Edited by Susan Bainbridge

At age 6, Susan was destined to be a journalist and photographer.  In 1980, Susan founded Bainbridge News and The Bainbridge Chronicle Newspaper. Bainbridge News specializes in Military and National Politics, including Military Funerals and Burials and Political Funerals and Burials.  Susan has covered the White House, the Pentagon and Capitol Hill. She has covered every president from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Recognized for her versatility, Susan has also covered finance, crime, civil rights events, marches, sports, musical events and more. In 1990, she established Bainbridge Photography, an On-Location photography company. In addition to military and political events, including Military and Political funerals and burials, Bainbridge Photography expanded into covering ALL funerals and burials, receptions, weddings, real estate, inventory, insurance, portrait, head shot, pets, fire and Hazmat.  Miss Bainbridge believes in going the extra mile. "My Clients always come first." In 1980, Susan began her career in Washington, D.C., working for WMZQ Radio as a reporter and guest hostess from 1980 to 1985. Intrigued by radio, Susan wanted to write, freelancing for radio, television and print newspapers, including AP, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Northern Virginia Sun, The Press-Republican and The Bainbridge Chronicle (established by Susan Bainbridge). In 1986, Susan worked at WDCA-TV Channel 20 as a guest hostess for "Eye On Washington." From 1990 to 1994, Susan reported and anchored for "The Arlington Weekly News." Additionally, she produced a segment for the G. Gordon Liddy Radio Show. A prolific writer, while in high school in 1977, Bainbridge wrote an episode for NBC's "Little House on The Prairie" entitled "Laura's Best Friend." Though the show's producers did not use the script then, NBC producers encouraged Susan to pursue a writing and journalism career. Susan is a member of the National Press Club, the National Press Photographer's Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. Susan Bainbridge's recognitions include from former Presidents Ronald Reagan, George Herbert Walker Bush and Bill Clinton, former First Lady Nancy Reagan, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the late actor Lorne Greene, among many others. BAINBRIDGE NEWS was founded in 1980 by Susan Bainbridge (a sixth generation writer), a third generation journalist, a first generation photographer and a fourth generation entrepreneur. She is the first generation to establish a news business. Bainbridge News is dedicated in honor of Miss Bainbridge's late grandfather and idol, Mark S. Watson (The Baltimore Sun editor and war correspondent from 1920 to his death in 1966).

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