Introduction There is a requirement for adequate medical expertise to be available throughout the range of potential future operations involving members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The aim of this study was to assess the collection and sharing of medical intelligence and medical information (M2I) by NATO Nations, Partner Nations and NATO Command Structure and NATO Force Structure Headquarters (NCS/NFS HQs).
Materials and methods A transversal survey was conducted between December 2014 and March 2015 using a survey form on M2I sent to NATO Nations and Partnership for Peace (PfP) Nations as well as NCS/NFS HQs.
Results Correctly completed responses were received from 15/40 (37.5%) of the possible NATO and PfP Nations (37.5%) and 7/8 (87.5%) of the NCS/NFS HQs (100.0%). Deficiencies in the collection of M2I data were found due to lack of specific doctrines, networks, tools, structures and organisation.
Conclusions The survey provided an indication even though the participation rate was low for Nations. Part of the problem is thought to be that medical information and medical intelligence often lie in different chains of command. Future directions for this research could include studying the possibilities of a new specific information technology (IT) system to collect and to share M2I. Collection and sharing of M2I within the NATO/PfP community requires facilitation in order to strengthen the basis for decision-making and force health protection. The development of a dedicated NATO IT system may be a precondition for the implementation of an efficient M2I network.
- force health protection
- medical intelligence
- medical information
- collection and sharing
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Contributors GB collected filled survey documents, performed analyses and interpretation of data, and drafted the article. HW, BQ, PL and J-BM designed the study, built the survey documents, interpreted the results, and drafted and validated the article.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Disclaimer The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the general policy or position of the NATO/COMEDS.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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