U.S. Army tests telemedicine at remote outposts in Germany

The U.S. Army's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany serves as kind of a hub for care for American service personnel in Europe and often is the destination of choice for wounded warriors airlifted out of war zones in places like Iraq. So, with the closing of other American military hospitals in Europe, it seems natural that the Landstuhl facility would become a center of telemedicine for soldiers posted overseas.

Landstuhl now is testing remote consultations from two on-post clinics at U.S. Army Garrison Graffenwoehr in Vilseck, Germany, giving patients with sports injuries at that location remote access to American medical specialists. "We want them to see an orthotic surgeon we have confidence in," Col. Steven Brewster, commander of U.S. Army Medical Activity Bavaria, tells military newspaper Stars and Stripes.

"I can perform some of the physical maneuvers and the surgeon can ask them questions and review an MRI scan through a link," adds David Melaas, an orthopedic PA based at Landstuhl who is at Vilseck this month to help with remote exams. "[The surgeon in Landstuhl] can make a decision, offer the patient surgery if it is indicated and give them a date." The telemedicine link also is being used for postoperative care.

If the test, which runs from Jan. 22 to April 16, is successful, there are plans to open up the service to family members with chronic musculoskeletal ailments and to expand the service to other U.S. military outposts in Europe.

To learn more:
- take a look at this Stars and Stripes story