A new tool to measure traumatic brain injury will work over the Web but will not require Internet access so it can be used in combat zones with limited or no connectivity, the Defense Department personnel chief told Congress.
The Pentagon is in the final phase of developing the Web-enabled version of its Automated Neuropsychological Assessment Metrics tool, Clifford L. Stanley, undersecretary of Defense for personnel and readiness, told the Senate and House Armed Services Committees in a report late last month.
ANAM, unlike some other TBI testing tools, currently does not work over the Web. Stanley said the Web-enabled version of ANAM will provide users with the ability to download data and use the application over the Web, while at the same time working in a stand-alone fashion.
"Any product that is completely Web-based will not provide functionality in a disconnected fashion and will present challenges in military operations," the report said, adding TBI testing tools must operate independently of network connections to maximize their use and to improve test accuracy and performance.
Defense has determined there is "no utility" in performing post-deployment TBI assessments, the report said, and instead will focus on post-injury testing on the battlefield, based on results of pilot tests of ANAM and another tool, Immediate Post-Concussion Assessment and Cognitive Testing, known as ImPACT, which the National Football League uses to assess brain injuries in its players.
Last month, Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, the Army surgeon general, told a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee that ANAM "is insensitive and nonspecific. It misses about a quarter to a third of [troops] who are concussed and includes about 50 percent of [troops] not concussed."
In another report submitted to Congress last month, the Defense-Veterans Affairs Interagency Program Office said computer systems installed at the James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, a jointly managed VA-Navy medical facility in Chicago cannot automatically manage pharmacy orders.
The report said seven pharmacists at the faculty will manually reconcile patient medication and allergy lists, performing pharmacy functions that will be handled automatically when the final pharmacy system is deployed later this year.