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NEWS | Sept. 28, 2018

Air Force deploys metrics, quantifies value of medical readiness

By Peter Holstein Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs

As the Defense Health Agency assumes management of Air Force military treatment facilities, one of the most important challenges facing the Air Force is its ability to maintain the readiness mission hospitals and clinics support.

Ensuring a ready medical force to support the warfighter remains the top priority for all Air Force medical facilities once they transition to the DHA. The Air Force, Army, and Navy will all retain responsibility for operational mission support and readiness at their MTFs.

To help MTFs quantify the value of their readiness mission and prepare for the transition, the DHA and Air Force are implementing Quadruple Aim Performance Plans, or QPP.

“MTF leaders will use QPP to report readiness activities, both expeditionary medicine and support to their local wing,” said Kyle Gibson, Analytics South division chief, Air Force Medical Operations Agency. “It seeks to measure a complete understanding of the time commitments an MTF needs for its readiness mission, and the clinical currency opportunities its providers need to complete the mission.”

The DHA will assume management and administration of Air Force MTFs on Fort. Bragg, North Carolina; Keesler Air Force Base, Mississippi; Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina; and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, North Carolina, starting Oct. 1, 2018. Additional Air Force MTFs will transition in phases, until all Air Force, Army and Navy health care facilities, are managed by the DHA.

QPPs are already rolled out at these locations, and other MTFs throughout the Air Force Medical Service are being tasked to develop a plan for their respective facility by Dec. 31, 2018.

“It’s vitally important that we accurately communicate and quantify our readiness requirement to our DHA partners,” said Col. Colin Smyth, director, Expeditionary Medical Policy and Operations for the AFMS. “QPP will be a common framework to create a shared understanding of readiness activities between the DHA and the Air Force Surgeon General, Major Commands, and Combatant Commanders.”

Gibson emphasized the importance of creating a holistic measure that captures value and requirements, and includes downrange and local wing readiness missions.

“This is really the first time MTFs will be able to fully define their entire readiness requirement,” Gibson said. “Our hospitals and clinics have two missions, readiness and delivering the health benefit. We can’t rely on MTF performance against civilian standards to measure our effectiveness. To properly assess MTFs, we need specialized performance metrics that capture readiness activities.”

The QPP is designed to report more than just funding requirements. It reports clinical currency requirements, training needs, and most importantly, the time medical Airmen need to devote to their readiness missions.

“QPP is a tool for MTF leaders,” Gibson said. “With accurate data reporting and inclusion of all readiness activities, MTFs will receive credit for those activities and ensure all aspects of their mission are appropriately valued and supported, from a business, staffing, readiness and clinical aspect.

“There’s no doubt that the transition to the DHA requires us to speak a new language, overcome some misconceptions, and undergo a culture shift. QPP is a way for the DHA and each of the Services to agree on how to measure readiness, and elevate readiness measures onto an equal footing with other aspects of MTF performance.”