Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Since 9/11, These 8 Military Medical Advancements are Saving Lives

Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Derek Weida jokes with a physician during his prosthetic leg fitting at a prosthetics clinic in Las Vegas in April 2018. Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Derek Weida jokes with a physician during his prosthetic leg fitting at a prosthetics clinic in Las Vegas in April 2018.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Technology | 20th Anniversary of 9/11: Call-to-Action

This year, the Defense Healthy Agency joins the entire nation in commemorating the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks — a searing moment in American history that remains all too vivid for many Americans today.

Not only were military medical personnel critical in treating and saving lives of victims of the attack on the Pentagon, but our military medical forces also responded to ground zero in New York. Many of the medical heroes of 9/11 continue to serve their country and care for patients today.

Since 9/11, the level of medical care for service members, retirees, and their families continues to improve and change. Years of military conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan brought innovations that completely transformed the Military Health System's approach to combat casualty care. These contributions not only shaped military medicine; they also transformed the overall field of medicine, helping to save lives around the country and the world.

Here's a list of just a few ways military medicine has evolved in the two decades since the 9/11 attacks:

1. Stop the Bleed

In life-threatening emergencies, minutes can make the difference between life and death. Bleeding control techniques, such as tourniquet application and packing open wounds with clean gauze ­– which were once primarily reserved for the battlefield – are now being widely taught to the public through the Stop the Bleed campaign, which trains Americans on how to respond to bleeding emergencies.

Early bleeding control is important both off and on the battlefield. Hemorrhage secondary to traumatic injury is the leading cause of death of Americans between the ages of 1 and 46. The Stop the Bleed campaign was launched in 2015 by the White House's National Security Council Staff. Since then, bleeding control has become widely taught and bleeding control kits are now commonplace in schools, airports, workplaces, and other locations.

2. ER-REBOA

Military research into bleeding control continues to be a priority, and lessons learned on the battlefield are being carried over to the home front. For example, the resuscitative endovascular balloon occlusion of the aorta (REBOA) device to stop hemorrhaging received approval in 2015 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The device was designed by Air Force Col. (Dr.) Todd Rasmussen and Dr. Jonathan Eliason, who served tours at the military's level III surgical hospital in Balad, Iraq and saw a need for a device that could stop blood loss in the pelvic area and abdomen. The ER-REBOA is not only being used by the military, but also in more than 250 hospitals internationally, and has greatly increased patient survival rates.

3. Osseointegration — Advances in Prosthetics

Advances in artificial limb technology since 9/11 have enabled warfighters who lost an arm, a leg or the use of multiple extremities, in Iraq or Afghanistan to function better. On December 7, 2015, two amputees who were Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, Bryant Jacobs and Ed Salau, became the first Americans to get a percutaneous osseointegrated prosthesis, or POP implant, through a clinical trial funded through the Department of Veterans Affairs.

While traditional prostheses involve placing the residual limb into a cup-like shell called a socket – which can cause pain, discomfort, and infection – the POP implants are surgically anchored into the patient's remaining thigh bone to allow connection to the prosthesis. Patients report a number of benefits including improved mobility, improved comfort, a decreased risk of falls, and a more "part of me" experience compared to socket prostheses.

In 2020, FDA approved the Osseoanchored Prostheses for the Rehabilitation of Amputees Implant System, the first implant system approved specifically for adults who have above-the-knee amputations.

4. METC Training – Prolonged Field Care

To prepare for future battlefields where there is limited ability to quickly evacuate a patient to a higher level of care, the Medical Education and Training Campus' Combat Medic Specialist Training Program in San Antonio, Texas has developed an Introduction to Delayed Evacuation Care component to its capstone Combat Field Training Exercise.

The goal is to expose the Army's point of care medical personnel – the 68W Combat Medic Specialists assigned to the US Army Medical Center of Excellence – to the principles of prolonged field care. The pilot program launched in June 2021 aims to better prepare medics for near-peer conflict when immediate medical evacuation may be difficult.

5. Val G. Hemming Simulation Center at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Recent wars have demonstrated the need for more training and practice in life-saving procedures on the battlefield. Using simulation for training military medical personnel dates back to the 1960s. In 1999, the Val G. Hemming Simulation Center at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, was created through the vision of the dean of the School of Medicine, Dr. Val Hemming. The center uses live actor simulation, mannequins, task trainers, and virtual reality to help train medical students, graduate-level nursing students, and Graduate Medical Education trainees.

The center is one of the largest and most comprehensive simulation centers in the MHS. In 2005, the Army established the Medical Simulation Training Center (MSTC) program with the goal of building and standardizing the skills of Army Combat Medics. However, the MSTC did not include physician and nurse training. In turn, the MHS initiated the establishment of hospital and school-based simulation centers to enhance clinical training and experience among doctors and nurses.

6. QuikClot

Uncontrolled bleeding is the leading cause of preventable death on the battlefield. Increased use of tourniquets and hemostatic dressings, which clot the blood inside the wound, have saved the lives of many seriously wounded service members.

Soon after the attacks of Sep. 11, 2001, the Defense Department launched a series of studies to identify the most effective technology. Quikclot Combat Gauze has been used by the U.S. military in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. This type of bandage uses a compound found in the exoskeletons of shrimp and lobsters that helps form blood clots.

7. MHS Apps

The Military Health System is more than just a large health care institution — it is also a community. Over the years, the MHS has developed a series of apps to provide that community, including patients and healthcare providers and staff, with information on practical, easy-to-use health care mobile apps. They range from apps to help with relaxation and breathing to immunization reference material and tools for evaluation and treatment of concussions.

The goal of the app portfolio is to help improve the quality of services provided to MHS patients, providers, and staff, to ensure they have the information technology products available for all their needs. A list of available apps can be found at the bottom of the Solution Delivery Division's webpage on Health.mil.

8. MHS Centers of Excellence

Military Health System Centers of Excellence, or CoEs, were established to help the Department of Defense to speed the advancement of our scientific knowledge and evidence-based practices for diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions that impact our military personnel and their families with the help of a critical mass of experts.

The following are a list of MHS COEs:

You also may be interested in...

DHA-PI 8400.02 Financial Management of Information Technology Systems and Services

Policy

Establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures to provide overarching guidance, implement procedures, and manage aspects of the Defense Health Program’s (DHP) Financial Management of Information Technology (IT), Systems and Services for the Military Health System (MHS) enterprise. The established procedures apply across the DHA components to include Military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs) and Other Lines-of-Business (OLB). Directs the use of Ektropy, the Information Operations (IO) web-based IT planning ledger, to identify all DHP-funded IT personnel and IT-related expenditures, across all Budget Activity Groups (BAGs) and across the Future Years Defense Program (FYDP).

  • Identification #: 8400.02
  • Date: 8/2/2021
  • Type: DHA Procedural Instruction
  • Topics: Technology

DHA IPM 18-015: Cybersecurity Program Management

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the requirements of References (d) through (y): • Establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures to implement and maintain a DHA Cybersecurity Program for the Military Health System (MHS) to protect and defend DHA information and Information Technology (IT). • Is effective immediately; it will be converted into DHA-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), “Cybersecurity Program Management.” This DHA-IPM will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue.

  • Identification #: 18-015
  • Date: 10/28/2020
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Technology

DHA IPM 18-007: Service Delivery Management Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (e): - Establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures for implementing and managing high quality information technology (IT) services by the Chief Information Officer (CIO), Deputy Assistant Director Information Operations (DAD IO/J-6), Military Health System (MHS). The DHA Service Delivery Management program provides customers requesting IT services from the DAD IO/J-6 or Defense Information Systems Agency service catalogs with an on-demand, automated system that provides a single-entry point to submit service requests. The automated system enables DAD IO/J-6 to align business needs and use repeatable and scalable processes to holistically track, manage, and report on customer submitted requests for IT services from submission to fulfillment. - Is binding on DoD Components and supports the Director’s, DHA, responsibility to develop appropriate management models to maximize efficiencies in the activities carried out by the DHA. - This DHA-IPM is effective immediately; it will be converted into a DHA-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI). This DHA-IPM will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue.

  • Identification #: 18-007
  • Date: 7/28/2020
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Technology

DHA IPM 18-016: DHA IPM 18 016 Medical Coding of the DoD Health Records

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (s): • Establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures for centralized oversight, standardized operations, and ensured quality and performance for the coding of DoD Health Records. • This DHA-IPM is effective immediately; it will be converted into a DHA-Procedural Instruction. This DHA-IPM will expire 12 months from the date of issue.

DHA IPM 18-013: Risk Management Framework (RMF)

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the guidance of References (d) through (ac): • Incorporates cybersecurity strategy, policy, awareness/training, assessment, continuous monitoring, authorization, implementation, and remediation. • Aligns with the Deputy Assistant Director, Information Operations (DAD IO) J-6/Chief Information Officer’s (CIO) key concept of increasing cybersecurity of Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) Information Technology (IT); therefore, robust risk assessment and management is required. • Encompasses lifecycle risk management to determine and manage the residual cybersecurity risk. • This DHA-IPM is effective immediately; it will be converted into a DHA-Procedural Instruction. This DHA-IPM will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue.

  • Identification #: 18-013
  • Date: 9/20/2019
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Technology

DHA IPM 18-011: Video Network Center (VNC) Endpoint Standards

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the guidance of References (d) through (g): - Provides guidance for video network endpoint standards required for sites to connect to the Defense Health Agency (DHA) VNC network. These standards will help ensure security compliance, efficiency, and best practices are maintained across the DHA network. Meeting certification requirements brings many benefits, including: increased assurances of a successful video teleconference (VTC) experience, full access to bridge and point-to-point calls, and access to peer video networks, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, academia, and industry partners. Compliance with stated standards does not preclude users connecting to other DoD approved networks. - This DHA-IPM is effective immediately; it will be converted into a DHA-Procedural Instruction. This DHA-IPM will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue.

  • Identification #: 18-011
  • Date: 9/20/2019
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Technology

DHA-PI 3200.01: Research and Development (R&D) Enterprise Activity (EA)

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (p): a. Establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures for the Deputy Assistant Director (DAD), R&D to manage and execute, on behalf of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs (ASD(HA)), the portion of the Defense Health Program (DHP) Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation (RDT&E) appropriation assigned to it (referred to as the “DHP Science and Technology (S&T) Program)”. The DHP S&T Program includes Budget Activities (BAs) 6.1-6.3 and 6.6. The ASD(HA) provides policy, direction, and guidance to inform planning, programming, budgeting, and execution of the DHP RDT&E appropriation in accordance with statute, regulation, and policy in Reference (a). The DAD-R&D, and Component Acquisition Executive (CAE) manage and execute DHP RDT&E Program funds aligned to them on behalf of the ASD(HA). The CAE is responsible for managing BAs 6.4, 6.5, and 6.7 funding, as well as Procurement and Operations and Maintenance funding required to support DHP-funded Acquisition Programs, regardless of acquisition activity. b. Supports the Director, DHA, in developing appropriate DHA management models to maximize efficiencies in the management and execution of DHP RDT&E-funded activities carried out by the Combatant Commands (CCMDs), Services, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), Defense Agencies, and other DoD Components, as applicable. c. Codifies processes to confirm DHP RDT&E funds are applied towards medical priorities and aligned to ASD(HA) policy, direction, and guidance to develop and deliver innovative medical products and solutions that increase the readiness of the DoD medical mission in accordance with Reference (a). d. Supports the following objectives of the R&D EA: (1) Increasing the quantity, quality, and pace of medical research through improved programmatic organization, processes, and oversight. (2) Ensuring DHP RDT&E funded efforts align to ASD(HA) published program guidance that provides resourcing guidance and translates national, departmental, and Service priorities into specific program objectives. (3) Verifying alignment of DHP RDT&E funds to medical priorities and to ASD(HA) policy, direction, and guidance to ensure the development and delivery of medical materiel and knowledge solutions. (4) Facilitating coordination with the CCMDs, Services, USU, Defense Agencies, and other DoD Components, as applicable, to ensure DHP RDT&E funded activities address joint medical capability gaps, and avoid unnecessary duplication.

DHA PI 3201.05: Technology Transfer (T2) Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI) based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (t), establishes responsibilities, procedures, and guidance for the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) T2 program.

  • Identification #: 3201.05
  • Date: 6/20/2019
  • Type: DHA Procedural Instruction
  • Topics: Technology

DHA IPM 18-018: Physical Custody and Control of the DoD Health Record

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (p): • Establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures for the physical custody and control of DoD Health Records at all DoD Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs) and the management, monitoring, review, and evaluation of DoD Health Record availability at MTFs. • This DHA-IPM is effective immediately and will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue. It must be incorporated into the forthcoming DHA-Procedural Instruction, “Health Records Management”.

DHA IPM 18-017: Military Health System (MHS) Information Technology (IT) Investment Management Framework

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the guidance of References (d) through (v), establishes Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures to: • Establish the overarching guidance to implement policies and procedures for managing DHA Deputy Assistant Director, Information Operations (DAD IO)/J-6 Defense Health Program (DHP) IT resources. The DHA Investment Management Framework is used as an enabler for MHS leadership to make informed transparent financial decisions associated with the DHA DAD IO/J-6 systems, services, and capabilities and will continue to be used in the foreseeable future. • Provide full and total awareness of all IT across the enterprise ensuring all MHS healthcare-related IT investments are accounted for and integrated both operationally and financially. This includes all IT systems, applications, and devices and all their funding identified to manage a coherent and integrated healthcare capability across the enterprise. • Provide and supersede guidance and instructions previously provided through the Services. As Military Medical Treatment Facilities (MTFs) transition to DHA management and responsibility, procedures in this DHA-IPM will supersede IT systems guidance and instructions previously provided through the Services; including IT systems in all MTFs, clinics, and enterprise services provided to Other Lines-of-Business (OLB), such as training and research, etc. In addition, it supports a coherent and comprehensive catalog of IT capability investments encompassing all IT used to support the MHS mission. • Require that all funding sources, type and Budget Activity Group (BAG), purchasing or supporting any IT must be identified for inclusion in the DHA portfolio of IT capability investments. • Provide superseding guidance and instruction, through this DHA-IPM until a DHA-Procedural Instruction is issued previously provided by the Services in References (w) through (ad), for the MTFs as they are transitioned to DHA management and responsibility. • This DHA-IPM is effective immediately and it will be converted into a DHA-Procedural Instruction. This DHA-IPM will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue.

  • Identification #: 18-017
  • Date: 11/6/2018
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Technology

DHA PI 8140.01: Acceptable Use of Defense Health Agency Information Technology (IT) (Updated)

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (m), establishes the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) procedures for acceptable use of DHA IT by authorized and privileged users.

  • Identification #: DHA PI 8140.01
  • Date: 10/16/2018
  • Type: DHA Procedural Instruction
  • Topics: Technology

Waiver of Restrictive Licensure and Privileging Procedures to Facilitate the Expansion of Telemedicine Services in the Military Health System 12-010

Policy

In order to facilitate the expansion of telemedicine services in the Military Health System, this memorandum waives selective provisions of Department of Defense 602S.13-R, "Clinical Quality Assurance in the Military Health System," June 11 , 2004. This waiver is conditioned on the specific provisions of this memorandum, and shall remain in effect, unless modified or revoked, until the cancellation and reissuance of DoD 602S.13-R, or the issuance of a Department of Defense Instruction for or including telemedicine.

MHS Enterprise Architecture Signed Memo and Guide 20120730

Policy

Announcement of the release of the Military Health System (MHS) Enterprise Architecture (EA) Guide. The guide supports the MHS CIO’s responsibilities for development and maintenance of EA, which complies with the Department of Defense’s responsibilities under the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996, Public Law 104-106.

  • Identification #: 00-memo-2012-07-30
  • Date: 7/30/2012
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Technology

Guidance on the Establishment of a Human Cell, Tissue, and Cellular and Tissue Based Products Program

Policy

This memorandum requests the Services resource a Human Cell, Tissue, and Cellular and Tissue Based Products (HCT/Ps) Program that complies with regulatory standards for management and oversight of HCT/Ps, according to the best fit for their Service.

Standard Enterprise Architecture Requirements for Acquiring Information Management/Information Technology Products and Services

Policy

The Military Health System (MHS) Information Management/Information Technology (IM/IT) Strategic Plan established enterprise-wide interoperability and common architecture goals for MHS 1M/IT products and services that promote agility and interoperability within MHS and externally with Federal and industry partners.

  • Identification #: 00-memo-2012-06-19
  • Date: 6/19/2012
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Technology
<< < 1 2 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.