OPTAC-X, a telehealth company, today announced it has entered a deal to provide U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) and the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (SWCS) with a global hybrid LTE and SATCOM enabled telehealth system. It advances the ability of special operations medics to provide remote, critical life-saving care and assistance in prolonged field care with expert physician oversight at the point-of-injury or time-of-need.
USASOC’s initial purchase will place the OPTAC-X telehealth system, including global hybrid LTE and SATCOM connectivity by Kymeta Corporation, at the training institution at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. As part of the agreement, OPTAC-X will deliver sustained service and training on the use of its telehealth system.
The OPTAC-X telehealth system, successfully field tested by special operators deployed to Africa earlier this year, gives deployed special operations medics the ability to perform telehealth examinations with its advanced Look & Listen technology using RealWear Navigator 500, a ruggedized, heads-up display device (HUD). Charged with performing advanced life-saving procedures and prolonged field care in austere conditions, special operations medics will use OPTAC-X’s integrated telehealth technology to communicate with a network of U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) physicians and surgeons offering advanced healthcare services at the time of need though separated by thousands of miles. What the deployed medic sees and hears at the time of need, the physician will see and hear at his or her location, enabling immediate life-saving and prolonged field care feedback.
Image: The OPTAC-X telehealth system leverages its exclusive LTE and SATCOM services partner, Kymeta, to deliver industry leading global LTE and SATCOM capability. Kymeta’s software-enabled, metamaterials-based electronically steered antenna (ESA) — the Kymeta Osprey u8 — provides mobile satellite and cellular communications whether on the move (COTM) or on the pause (COTP).
Retired Major General Kurt Sonntag was the commanding general of SWCS and deputy commander of USASOC for the U.S. Army during his military career and witnessed firsthand the need for advanced medical care in the field.
“This amazing technology interface significantly enhances the already phenomenal medical capabilities our special operations possess,” Sonntag said. “The ability to instantly reach back to medical subject experts, particularly when operating in denied or remote spaces, provides a new risk mitigation tool for commanders and operators alike and redefines the golden hour for saving lives.”
The OPTAC-X telehealth system leverages its exclusive LTE and SATCOM services partner, Kymeta, to deliver industry leading global LTE and SATCOM capability. Kymeta’s software-enabled, metamaterials-based electronically steered antenna (ESA) provides mobile satellite and cellular communications. Backed by U.S. and international patents and licenses, the Kymeta Osprey u8 addresses the need for lightweight, low-profile, and high-throughput communication systems that do not require mechanical components to steer toward a satellite, whether it be communications on the move (COTM) or communications on the pause (COTP).
As part of OPTAC-X’s telehealth system, RealWear Navigator 500 HUD connects via OPTAC-X’s proprietary, cutting-edge cloud technology and globally monitored, secure network. The use of RealWear through simple voice commands in loud environments up to 100 dBA, enables full hands-free device control and navigation. Physicians utilize the network to send video assets, images, charts or other material in 1080p that deployed medics can reference through the HUD device while simultaneously treating an injured soldier. OPTAC-X’s telehealth system helps the modern Special Operation Forces (SOF) medic to perform tasks with increased safety, efficiency and precision which directly contributes to more lives saved.
“Today’s announcement is a major milestone in the realization of OPTAC-X’s overriding desire to help soldiers and others who work in dangerous and difficult circumstances — remote from standard medical care facilities and services — to receive the lifesaving help they need via telehealth and achieve improved outcomes in prolonged field care,” said Dr. Patrick Fullerton, founder and chief executive officer of OPTAC-X. “We look forward to partnering with USASOC and possibly other DOD entities to use the OPTAC-X telehealth solution to bring life-saving medical care to places around the globe that many never thought possible.”
“Partnering with OPTAC-X allows Kymeta to provide connectivity capabilities to the front line in telehealth and emergency medicine,” said Bill Marks, executive vice president and chief development officer of Kymeta, “We are excited about the wide range of innovations this partnership opens for digitally enabled care.”
“We’re extremely honored to be selected as the exclusive wearable assisted reality device for OPTAC-X’s innovative solution now being used by SOF medics,” said Chris Parkinson, cofounder and chief technology officer of RealWear. “By freeing medics’ hands to communicate with a remote consulting physician who can talk them through a life-saving procedure is elevating telemedicine to new heights. This approach could serve as a blueprint for the future.”
The OPTAC-X telehealth solution was developed to close the gap identified by military leaders and medical personnel desiring to have the audio and visual capabilities now offered by OPTAC-X’s Look & Listen technology at the point of injury and time of need. SOF medics have faced persistent challenges with latency in communications systems that impeded the transmission of clear images and or voice commands. Products tested were unable to perform in challenging environmental settings or at the point-of-injury and within the golden hour without the dedication of significant physician staffing. OPTAC-X solved the problem by developing a combination of technologies which allow a medical provider to treat a patient while stationary or in a moving vehicle and sending and receiving voice and 1080p real-time images over thousands of miles with almost no latency.
Prolonged field care improvements via telehealth solutions have been a stated priority of the U.S. Secretary of Defense for years. In March of 2017, Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West, then U.S. Army Surgeon General, testified before a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee on the topic.
As reported in a U.S. Department of Defense News article, West identified virtual health capabilities including remotely monitoring patient vitals, providing virtual consultations, and letting medics provide combat casualty care as being important. She saw virtual health as a way to revolutionize access in garrison facilities, at patients’ homes or at points of injury.
Fullerton sees great potential for the application of the OPTAC-X telehealth solution beyond the military. He points to energy, maritime and mining industries, emergency management systems and natural disaster scenarios such as the recent Hurricane Ian in southwest Florida as spaces where OPTAC-X’s technology and service could have played a vital role.
OPTAC-X telehealth and tele-expert solutions are designed to bring expertise to first responders in under-served locations or in places where services have been disrupted making the system ideal for federal and state emergency services and multiple government entities. OPTAC-X is currently developing solutions for states that have been impacted by recent natural disasters while continuing to grow relationships within the DOD.
OPTAC-X, Inc. is a veteran-owned company delivering new standards for reliability, access in hardened resilience for telehealth, and remote assistance with its remote physician and tele-expert networks. OPTAC-X provides a worldwide, resilient, high-speed, digital network (VSAT, Gen 4 & 5 LTE and terrestrial IP) to ensure that telemedicine and tele-experts are always connected to the teams they support. Leveraging the extensive military service and skill of its founders, OPTAC-X was created in 2021 and is mission-driven to increase access to critical medical care and save lives. For more information, please visit optacx.com.
Top Photo: As part of OPTAC-X’s telehealth system, RealWear Navigator 500 HUD connects via OPTAC-X’s proprietary, cutting-edge cloud technology and globally monitored, secure network. Physicians utilize the network to send video assets, images, charts or other material in 1080p that deployed medics can reference through the hands-free HUD device while simultaneously treating an injured soldier.
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