In 2013, a joint telemedicine project was launched by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Allies Romania, Finland, Moldova, Ukraine and the United States aimed at improving crisis survival rates and access to health services in remote regions of the world. A Transportable Exam Station (TES) was first developed and tested in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev in September 2015 involving 1,100 rescue workers from 34 countries, marking the first ever multinational telemedicine interoperability trial in a disaster scenario. On Friday, February 24th, NATO’s Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Program declared that project testing had successfully concluded.
The dual-purpose technology seeks to connect both civilian and military first responders to medical specialists across the globe, providing much-needed aid in time-sensitive patient assessments, diagnosis determinations, and treatment recommendations in real time.
“Right now when there’s a disaster most countries will send some sort of aid; United States sends teams, Romania sends teams. When you send a team to…a hurricane or tsunami in Japan, you have to be able to feed them, water them, clothe them, and take care of all their needs on top of allowing them to do medical care. [With telemedicine] you still send people, but instead of 30 maybe you send 12.”
-Donald Kosiak, medical chairman of the NATO program
The suitcase-sized kits promise to significantly expedite the international response to both natural and military medical disasters, saving countless lives in the process.