51st MDG conducts POD exercise, MiCARE registration

Staff Sgt. Judith Berry, 51st Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician, examines an Airman’s paperwork to ensure he receives the correct simulated Anthrax prophylaxis during a point of distribution exercise at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 7, 2014. The POD exercise tested the ability of the 51st Medical Group to screen and vaccinate base personnel in the event of a real-world public health emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ashley J. Thum)

Staff Sgt. Judith Berry, 51st Medical Support Squadron pharmacy technician, examines an Airman’s paperwork to ensure he receives the correct simulated Anthrax prophylaxis during a point of distribution exercise at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 7, 2014. The POD exercise tested the ability of the 51st Medical Group to screen and vaccinate base personnel in the event of a real-world public health emergency. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ashley J. Thum)

Osan Airmen register for the MiCARE smart phone application during a point of distribution exercise at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 7, 2014. Service members and their families with the MiCARE application can electronically manage their medical information, make appointments for treatment at their local military treatment facility, and communicate securely with their healthcare provider. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ashley J. Thum)

Osan Airmen register for the MiCARE smart phone application during a point of distribution exercise at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, Feb. 7, 2014. Service members and their families with the MiCARE application can electronically manage their medical information, make appointments for treatment at their local military treatment facility, and communicate securely with their healthcare provider. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Ashley J. Thum)

OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- The 51st Medical Group practiced implementing a disease containment plan, Feb. 7, rehearsing the steps they would take in the event of a base-wide public health emergency.

Medical personnel reacted to a hypothetical Anthrax epidemic on base with their goal being the ability to process 150 people per hour to accommodate the more than 11,000 beneficiaries they would need to vaccinate or otherwise treat in a real-world situation.

Capt. Shaoping Mo, 51st Medical Support Squadron pharmacy flight commander, said the POD exercise was divided into stages to ensure the care and type of vaccine each person received was appropriate.

"First, people went through an initial screen to see if they were already `sick,'" Mo said, explaining that in a real-world outbreak, those already exhibiting symptoms of a disease would immediately be taken to a medical care center. "Next, everyone had to fill out a form to check for any drug allergies, then they went to a briefing by Public Health so they would know what the situation was."

The three types of Anthrax prophylaxis, or vaccine, were simulated at the next station and handed out by pharmacy personnel according to the information on each person's medical paperwork. From there, participants turned in their forms so their individual data could be recorded.

"The exercise was unique because we had representatives from our immunization clinic here to actually administer any shots people were due for," Mo said.

Those attending the exercise also had the opportunity to register for the MiCARE smart phone application, and were encouraged to download another app, My Military Communities.

MyMC2 offers a "one-stop shop" to view everything from weekend events on base to contact information for various base agencies. The information is pulled directly from any given unit's Facebook page, where it can then be viewed in a "directory" format with contact information and hours of operation, or in "calendar" form that allows a user to pick a day and view any events that have been scheduled. 
 
Maj. Tod Frazer, 51st MDG health care integrator and delayed team chief, said more than 600 Osan Airmen and their families have registered for MiCARE so far. Those that have registered can now communicate securely with their primary care provider, one of the apps many features.

"There are potential dangers when people search for health-related information on the internet due to all the incorrect information that is out there," Frazer said, adding the application has a patient education library that can help mitigate the risk of a patient being misinformed.

Individuals can also request the results of laboratory tests, as well as any related follow-up instructions, 24 hours a day through MiCARE.

Frazer said he encourages patients to take advantage of the application's options, keeping in mind that it cannot be used to request a same-day appointment.

"The Patient Centered Medical Home encourages patients to take an active part in their health care along with their primary care team," Frazer said. "MiCARE secure messaging technology is the bridge to get them there."

Frazer said part of the exercise and registration's success is due to the support the 51st MDG has received from agencies like the 51st Fighter Wing Community Action and Information Board and the American Red Cross MiCARE Registration Team.

"The 51st Medical Group could not do it alone," Frazer said.

Mo added training events like the POD exercise are essential to maintaining a constant state of readiness in the event of a public health emergency.

"Like any other ORE (operational readiness exercise), if you're not prepared for success, you'll fail," Mo said.