FORT MCCOY, Wis. –
A medical unit in the U.S. Army Reserve has been selected to be amongst the first to test a new technology that allows supervisors to monitor Soldier health, during exercise Global Medic, Aug. 12, 2022.
“Ten Soldiers from the 901st Minimal Care Detachment out of West Virginia, have been selected to participate in a 72-hour test trial,” said U. S. Army Reserve Maj. Sanjay Krishnaswamy, commander of the 901st MCD.
The U.S. Army Reserve Command realizes the potential benefits with utilizing technology to monitor its Soldiers, while using tracking applications. The Army Reserve has partnered with LifeLens Technologies to test trial the Health Readiness and Performance System.
“Our brigade commander, Col. Suarez, of the 338th Medical Brigade, suggested that the 901st MCD might be a good unit to test out these eight trap sensors,” said Krishnaswamy. “And you see, I’m wearing one of the heart monitors today.”
Krishnaswamy has his undergraduate degree in biochemistry and English literature from Harvard University and his Ph.D. in physics and biophysics from University of California, Berkeley. As an Army Reserve officer, Krishnaswamy specializes in military acquisitions for helping develop new technology. Under the medical research and development command, he has developed new tools for Soldier medical readiness and soldier fitness tracking.
“Talking to the developers, I understood the product,” said Krishnaswamy. “As a new commander, the idea of having technology helps me better track my Soldiers’ wellbeing and make sure they don’t overexert or overheat is great.”
“It can track several things, but we’re only looking at some of the data,” said Krishnaswamy. “It tracks the Soldier’s electrocardiogram and it uses the information through an algorithm. It was developed at the Walter Reed Army Institute for Research to relay the Soldiers’ body temperature and core temperature. It also relays information about their heart rate, exertion level, and variability in their heart rate. The device pairs with an application that can be downloaded on any cell phone and relays geographical locations for all Soldiers wearing the HRAPS,” said Krishnaswamy.
“The device is not FDA approved yet, so it’s not giving a diagnostic readout but it gives the nurses a heads up that a specific Soldier needs to be checked out. So, he has chosen to have his nurses monitor the device, because they will have a better idea of what to do when something happens,” Krishnaswamy said.
U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Kayla Corob, Medical Surgeon Nurse with 901st MCD, is among the 10 Soldiers that is wearing the HRAPS, as well as monitoring the data collected.
Corob joined the U.S. Army seven years ago as a medical officer and received her undergraduate degree in 2010. She is originally from Morgantown, West Virginia, and works in the medical profession on the civilian side.
“I think it’s a great idea medically, for those who are predisposed to heat injury, and those who have a family history of any cardiac issues,” said Corob. “Soldiers historically have such a hard time maintaining any type of health fitness levels internally. I was very excited when I heard about this project. In general, I think it’s going to have a lot of good that it can do in prevention,” said Corob.
“Soldiers don’t go to their checkups unless they are forced to, and they don’t take advice from their doctors or their providers of any kind,” she said. “So, the fact that this might be able to track a little better is very exciting.”
“I think it reflects well that the military is adapting with times, there are a lot of different applications that this device can be used for,” said Corob. “I do think that the military will investigate and invest in all those avenues.”
“I understand and recognize that quantifying those can have pros and cons and can be right and wrong, but I think it would be a really good general guideline to make sure people are safe,” she said.
“For nursing, particularly, we were very invested in prophylactic treatment. We’re taught from the beginning, that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, I was very excited and felt very privileged that I was able to participate,” said Corob.
Technology has played a big part in the way the U.S. Army Reserve tracks medical readiness and safety among soldiers. Soldiers like Krishnaswamy and Corob help promote and participate to show that this new technology can pave the way to a more successful Army.