Predictors of Temporary Profile Days Among U.S. Army Active Duty Soldiers.

Academic Article


  • INTRODUCTION: More than 40,000 soldiers cannot deploy every year, which undermines readiness. The medical readiness of soldiers is a critical component of the overall operational readiness of the U.S. Army. Acute musculoskeletal injuries (MSIs) are the greatest threat to medical readiness. Medical providers place soldiers on temporary profiles to facilitate treatment and recovery of acute MSIs. Poorly managed temporary profiles negatively impact a soldier's work attendance, resulting in the loss or limitation of over 25 million workdays annually. Upgrading the electronic profile system and implementing the Army Medical Home has led to improvements in managing temporary profiles over the last decade. The Army Medical Home encompasses care delivery platforms, including the Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) and Soldier-Centered Medical Home (SCMH). The structure of U.S. Army PCMHs and SCMHs differ in ways that may affect care processes and patient outcomes. Temporary profile management is an important soldier health outcome that has not been studied in relation to the U.S. Army's PCMH and SCMH structures or care processes. Access to care, continuity, and communication are three care processes that have been described as essential factors in reducing lost workdays and functional limitations in workers after an acute injury. Understanding the impact of the medical home on temporary profile days is vital to medical readiness. This study aimed to (1) compare temporary profile days between the U.S. Army PCMHs and SCMHs and (2) determine the influence of medical home structures and care processes on temporary profile days among active duty U.S. Army soldiers receiving care for MSIs. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This was a retrospective, cross-sectional, and correlational study guided by Donabedian's conceptual framework. We used secondary data from the Military Data Repository collected in 2018. The sample included 27,214 temporary profile records of active duty U.S. Army soldiers and 266 U.S. Army PCMH and SCMH teams. We evaluated bivariate and multivariate associations between outcomes and predictors using general and generalized linear mixed regression models. The U.S. Army Medical Department Center and School Institutional Review Board approved this study. RESULTS: Total temporary profile days ranged from 1 to 357, with a mean of 37 days (95% CI [36.2, 37.0]). There was a significant difference in mean temporary profile days between PCMHs (43) and SCMHs (35) (P < 0.001). Soldiers in PCMHs were more likely to have temporary profiles over 90 days (OR = 1.54, 95% CI [1.17, 2.03]). Soldiers in the heavy physical demand category had fewer temporary profile days (P < 0.001) than those in the moderate physical demand category. Age, sex, rank level, physical demand category, profile severity, medical home type, the "explain things" communication subscale, and primary care manager continuity were significant predictors of temporary profile days. CONCLUSIONS: Excessive temporary profile days threaten medical readiness and overall soldier health. Aspects of the medical home structure and care processes were predictors of temporary profile days for musculoskeletal conditions. This work supports continued efforts to improve MSI-related outcomes among soldiers. Knowledge gained from this study can guide future research questions and help the U.S. Army better meet soldier needs.
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    Author List

  • Taylor-Clark TM; Loan LA; Swiger PA; Hearld LR; Li P; Patrician PA