Medical Treatment Facilities (sometimes known as Military Treatment Facilities or MTFs) serve as the foundation of military medical care. They provide both treatment for active duty military and training for military medical providers worldwide. But the certainty that MTFs provide full-service medical facilities in the military is becoming a thing of the past.
Yet, despite an array of complicating issues, leaders in the military health community have maintained a commitment to quality healthcare and medical readiness.
Each MTF is different, however, meaning that even if all MTFs take steps to become high-reliability organizations (HROs)—meaning they have strong readiness—the enterprise in aggregate may not see an increase in resilience—meaning the capacity of a system to withstand a disruption and to continue operating without impact on output or function.
In order to develop an understanding of network-wide risks, military organizations must both define and organize risks according to the systems they use and the structure of their organizations, and to do so they’ll need to identify a common set of attributes for the risks that could confront a given MTF.
Military organizations must also pay due attention to possible challenges—a process made much stronger and easier when decision makers adhere to five principles that characterize effective contingency plans:
- Flexibility to respond to the unknown
- Awareness of the networked relationships and connectivity within the MTF network
- Connection to the strategic planning process
- Supportive of the culture of the MTF network
- Sensitivity to existing roles, responsibilities and business processes
This kind of planning will address key challenges and includes a common set of identifying attributes for risks that could possibly appear in a given MTF. While adhering to these principles can help an individual MTF maintain a consistent level of readiness, MTFs as a network should still be striving to attain and uphold resilience.
Readiness, on one hand, deals with risk management. Resilience, on the other, deals with the ability to withstand the consequences of risk. Ultimately, government and military leaders and organizations will have to develop a meticulous and detailed understanding of all the risks present in the military health landscape. Doing so will help them generate a more accurate picture of MTF readiness and ultimately a more resilient MTF network.
Read the thought piece to learn more about this topic.