- Introduction: A Top-Level Look at the Future of Federal Medicine
- Military Health System in Time of Transition as Conflicts End
- Army Medicine: Redefining Its Role in the Generation of a Ready and Resilient Force
- Air Force Medicine: Averting an Identity Crisis
- Moving Forward with Reforming the Indian Health Service
- The Clinical Pharmacy Specialist's Growing Provider Role in VA
- Public Health Service Pharmacy: Accelerating Transformation
- Military Pain Management’s Future: Less Invasive, More Data-Driven Techniques
- Navy Medicine: Strong, Agile and Ready
- Telemental Health in VA: A New Source of Support for Veterans
Improvements in the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES)
Since its inception in 2007, the Integrated Disability Evaluation System (IDES) for wounded, ill and injured soldiers has faced many challenges and has been the subject of much scrutiny. Delays and missed timelines were the norm, and a lack of understanding about the process existed at all levels. Soldiers and leaders were not satisfied, and we all knew we could do better — and better is our expressed goal.
This year, in collaboration with our partners across the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Army Medical Command (MEDCOM) is renewing its commitment to our soldiers, their families and Army leaders to ensure the disability-evaluation system is streamlined, standardized and transparent. For the first time, a Service Line is dedicated solely to improving the IDES process. We have invested significant resources in the IDES Service Line and launched many initiatives that already have led to measureable gains. The IDES Service Line includes a team of analysts, statisticians, operations specialists, strategic communications specialists and IDES subject matter experts working daily to address the challenges that have delayed the IDES for many soldiers.
Recent IDES Service Line initiatives include:
- publishing new and updated guidance;
- providing effective training to soldiers, commanders and key players throughout the process;
- clarifying complex appeals procedures;
- increasing visibility and transparency;
- establishing clear metrics; and
- enforcing enterprise-wide process standards to decrease variation.
As a top priority, we have published new guidance to decrease duplication, improve process understanding, increase efficiencies and achieve standardization across all IDES processing sites. We also are launching Medical Evaluation Board Remote Operating Centers (MEBROCs) to increase IDES enterprise capacity for all components. Additionally, we are expanding best practices that have been successfully identified and piloted at military treatment facilities (MTF). These approaches streamline the process by directly mitigating the factors that have traditionally delayed the IDES timeline. Furthermore, the implementation of advanced data analytics and visualization tools will give all stakeholders access to a common operating picture for IDES performance and the ability to monitor progress at the Armywide, regional and facility level.
During the past year, IDES has come a long way. Since the establishment of the IDES Task Force and its subsequent transition into a dedicated service line, substantial improvements have been made, but there is still a lot of work to be done. We are continuing to improve communication, satisfaction, trust and understanding of this complex system to support our soldiers, their families and other stakeholders to maintain the Army’s and the nation’s readiness posture. We are confident that our vision of an equitable and efficient disability-evaluation process is closer than ever, and we are committed to serving the men and women who proudly wear this nation’s uniform. Indeed, it is an honor to do so.
The Army’s Ready and Resilience Campaign (R2C) guides our collective efforts to improve both soldier resilience and unit readiness, and to promote a cultural change that emphasizes resilience and its importance to sustained readiness. Health and resiliency are Army Medicine imperatives and are foundational to the Army’s R2C plan. As we face a time of economic uncertainty and additional competition for critical resources, I see this time not as a challenge but as an “era of possibilities.” For Army Medicine, warrior care never ends. My intent is for Army Medicine to excel and continue as America’s premier medical team — leading the nation in providing care to those who serve our nation. As our troops come home to their families, I thank all of our soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen who served in the combat theaters and those who provide the critical support on the home front. Your heroism, courage and strength are unparalleled, and your hard work and sacrifice have made the world a safer place today and for future generations.
The level of care our soldiers require does not end when they return home from deployment. After more than 11 years of war, a considerable need will remain for many years for the medical care and support services Army Medicine provides our soldiers and families. We remain focused on developing medical innovations and enhancing our partnerships to deliver the best healthcare and support services possible to ensure optimal readiness for America’s fighting force. Moreover, we are equally committed to health generation as we medically equip a ready and resilient force for 2020 and beyond. Army Medicine is Serving to Heal … Honored to Serve.