Support: The Paperless Battlefield


p> August 30, 2007:  The paperless office may still be a long time coming, but there's a lot less paper on the battlefield, at least when U.S. troops are involved. Laptops and PDAs are increasingly common gear for combat troops, and that eliminates a lot of paper. Moreover, U.S. military equipment and weapons are increasingly filled with microprocessors, and displays for the users. Most reports are now prepared on a laptop, and transmitted electronically. This includes some reports that are prepared under fire. Army medics used to fill out a paper form after they had treated a casualty, and attached that form to the soldier as he was evacuated. Sometimes the casualty form was lost, or made hard to read by, say, getting blood on it. At the field hospital, the doctors may have had problems with the medics handwriting. Not much you could do, as everyone knew that the poor guy was probably writing in bad light, with a battle going on around him.


Over the last few years, the army has introduced computerized patient records, that can now be created using a PDA. Some 5,000 of these PDAs have been sent to Iraq and Afghanistan. Combat medics keep info on the people their units on these HP Ipaq devices. If someone is wounded, the medic quickly records the treatment on the PDA, and transmits it to the field hospital. There, the record keeps getting updated as the patient goes through treatment. The electronic record of treatments become part of the soldiers permanent medical records.


The medics prefer the PDA to the old forms, as does all the other medical personnel that had to deal with the paper documents in the past. All this is part of the Department of Defense's effort to create a battlefield Internet. It's arriving, a piece at a time.



Article Archive

Support: Current 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999



Thanksgiving is quickly approaching. Because of falling ad revenues and the owners of the site wanting you to have a good experience, this poor pet bird (Drake) may end up as the turkey for the publisher’s Thanksgiving meal.

What can you do to help save the bird? There are three possibilities:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..

Drake appreciates any help you can give him.

Subscribe   Contribute   Close