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The U.S. military's current concept of operations for expeditionary medical care emphasizes quickly moving patients to a series of successively more sophisticated medical facilities that provide the patients with the care necessary to treat their injury or condition. Balancing the deployment of treatment and evacuation resources is therefore necessary to ensure that the right mix of resources is available in a timely fashion.

The authors propose a planning concept that, by promoting patient flow rate as the common unit of measurement, will help integrate medical planning across treatment and evacuation functions, across the increasing levels of care, and across the different military services. The primary medical planning tool approved for use by combatant commands for developing their operational plans — the Joint Medical Analysis Tool (JMAT) — already operates in a manner consistent with this concept. However, modifications and enhancements to JMAT are necessary to ensure that the concept can be fully implemented.

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The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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