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Military


 DOT&E

Director, Operational Test & Evaluation
  
FY97 Annual Report

FY97 Annual Report

DEFENSE MEDICAL LOGISTICS STANDARD SUPPORT
AUTOMATED INFORMATION SYSTEM (DMLSS AIS)

ASD (HA) ACAT IAM Program
600 systems
Total program cost (TY$) $236M
Average unit cost (TY$) $393K
Life cycle cost (TY$) $921M
Full-rate production (IOC) 4QFY96


Prime Contractor
Electronic Data systems (EDS) and Cordant

SYSTEM DESCRIPTION & CONTRIBUTION TO JOINT VISION 2010

The DMLSS program defines and implements a more efficient medical logistics environment for military medical treatment facilities (MTFs) and field units to support health care operations both in peacetime and during contingencies. DMLSS AIS is intended to enhance operations by automating manual processes, improving processes already automated, and eliminating existing processes that add no value.

The system will support four major functional areas: (1) materiel management, (2) facility management, (3) equipment and technology, and (4) wholesale. The first three of these are retail medical logistic systems that will be used in hundreds of MTFs and field units worldwide, while the wholesale systems will be used only at a single site¾the Defense Personnel Support Center (DPSC) in Philadelphia, PA.

DMLSS AIS is being fielded incrementally, with each release containing new functions and enhancements to existing functions. The required applications are installed on each user's PCs and the server is accessed via the existing MTF local area network (LAN). DMLSS supports the JV2010 concept of focused logistics by integrating the medical logistics systems of the three Services, reducing MTF inventories of medical and pharmaceutical items, and decreasing the medical logistics footprint. This decreases the vulnerability of logistics lines of communications to deployed forces while still protecting lives.


BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Medical Electronic Customer Assistance (MECA), one of five wholesale systems to be developed for DPSC, was the first DMLSS AIS system to be fielded. Its retail counterpart and near twin, Forward Customer Support (FCS), was deployed to test sites in a stand-alone version (FCS-SA) at about the same time, beginning in 1995. The IOT&E of these initial modules was generally successful.

DMLSS AIS Release 1, which contains all of the functionality of FCS-SA, began the automation of both the medical materiel management and facility management processes. Subsequent DMLSS AIS releases will continue to introduce new automated processes, while also replacing eight retail systems currently in use in military MTFs and field units.

In February 1996, OT&E was conducted by the Office of Health Systems Evaluation (the OTA at the time) on MECA at the DPSC in Philadelphia, and on FCS-SA at Lackland AFB, TX, and the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. Although the test results were generally very favorable and most users enthusiastically supported the new system, some concerns were noted in the areas of database accuracy and currency, user training, system availability, and response times. The DMLSS PM took immediate action to correct these deficiencies, and DOT&E concurred with the OTA that the use of both FCS-SA and MECA should continue, as should the planned DMLSS AIS development program.

In August 1996, OT was conducted on DMLSS AIS Release 1 at Camp Lejeune, NC; Fort Hood, TX; and Maxwell AFB, AL. OPTEVFOR, the new lead OTA, determined that the system was "potentially operationally effective" and "potentially operationally suitable." (The word "potentially" was used because this was an early OT&E that did not test all DMLSS AIS required capabilities, many of which are still being developed.)


TEST & EVALUATION ACTIVITY

None during 1997. The OT&E of DMLSS AIS Release 1 in 1996 was conducted in compliance with the TEMP approved by DOT&E on July 30, 1996.


TEST & EVALUATION ASSESSMENT

During the OT&E of DMLSS AIS Release 1, the users were extremely satisfied with the new capability and were eagerly and aggressively using the system during their normal work routines. Deficiencies from the previous OT&E of MECA and FCS-SA had been corrected. Many of the facility management functions of Release 1 could not be tested, however; due to insufficient time to populate the database and user inexperience with some of the new features. As a result of the Release 1 OT&E, many recommendations for improvement were provided in the areas of contractor-provided maintenance, database building and updating, and interfaces with related systems. The DMLSS AIS PM quickly took action to address all of these concerns.

DOT&E concurs with the deployment of DMLSS AIS Release 1, but further operational testing of the system is clearly needed. FOT&E is scheduled for DMLSS AIS Release 2 in July 1998. Release 2 will contain upgrades to both the materiel management and facility management modules, and will replace two materiel management legacy systems. In addition to focusing on new functional capabilities (particularly those of the facility management module), FOT&E will address the operational effectiveness concerns (e.g., database accuracy, security) and operational suitability concerns

(e.g., maintainability, interoperability, training) noted in previous OT.


LESSONS LEARNED

Much of the difficulty in testing the facility management module of Release 1 was experienced because OT took place only a few weeks after the system had been installed at the test locations. There had been insufficient time for the users to become acquainted with the new system and to learn to perform all of the functions. Even more importantly, there had not been enough time to populate the databases sufficiently with all of the unique data that pertained to the test locations. Determining the optimum amount of time to wait between the installation at test sites and the beginning of operational testing is a challenge that differs with each AIS. Past experience has shown that at least one month (preferably two) is the minimum period. Any more time than that could unnecessarily delay deployment of the system. However, some systems require more time before they are ready to test. For these systems, either deployment must be delayed, or ways must be found to adequately prepare the OT locations without compromising the deployment schedule.



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