Back to Top Skip to main content

Applying COVID-19 innovations to the future of MHS medicine

Virtual health visits are expanding in response to COVID-19. Virtual health visits are expanding in response to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Research and Innovation

“I would do anything to help my patients” and “I look forward to business as usual after COVID-19” – declarations many Military Health System providers worldwide would wholeheartedly agree with during the coronavirus pandemic. We give our best every day to ensure infected and non-infected alike get the treatment they need.

As we envision health care in a post-pandemic world, we can’t ignore that COVID-19 has already irrevocably changed how we deliver care and will continue to do so. We must use the terrible clarity these unprecedented circumstances provide to honestly evaluate our tools and practices, and apply that wisdom to make real, lasting improvements to health care.

This mindset of embracing innovation for the sake of our patients is already a hallmark of MHS providers. We find creative, clinically sound ways to treat our patients no matter the obstacle.

We are also in a prime position to lead by example in keeping the best of what we’re learning during COVID-19. The MHS is one of the largest health care systems in the world and has the tools, experience, logistical capacity and operational flexibility to do what many other health systems cannot. Our experience with global, 24/7, life-and-death medical crises means we can lead in innovation when it’s most needed.

A MHS health care provider holds a virtual health visit with a patient.
A MHS health care provider holds a virtual health visit with a patient. 

Case in Point: Virtual Health

One way MHS providers can start adopting innovative practices right now during COVID-19 is through virtual health, also known as telehealth or telemedicine. The MHS offers ready-to-use virtual health capabilities that are effective, secure, accessible and compliant. In fact, the MHS Virtual Medical Center (VMC) has rapidly expanded scalable virtual health tools for military patients and medical personnel across the Services to ensure continuity of care during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

The VMC serves as a hub for virtual health, enabling medical personnel in the field to connect with patients. It provides operational experience in delivering care around the world, working across international time zones, specialties and military service branches to get the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. The VMC is uniquely prepared to help providers and patients understand and use virtual health.

Working with the VMC allows providers to hit the ground running with tested tools and easy access to subject matter experts and training. The VMC workflows also efficiently connect providers with patients. Once they use virtual health, many providers find that they can do many appointments through a virtual health platform, with greater convenience and satisfaction for both them and their patients.

Extensive Resources

The resources available right now for incorporating virtual health into your practice include:

  • The VMC: Any MHS provider or care team can request access to military virtual health platforms by accessing the VMC SharePoint site.
  • Telemedicine Privileging:It is permissible for most MHS providers (to include personal services contract providers) to virtually care for patients located in a different state during COVID-19. Virtual care can occur outside a military medical treatment facility (MTF), such as at a patient’s home. A unique advantage for military medical personnel is that you can both be credentialed at your local facility and have privileges at the VMC. This pairing enables you to virtually access patients and their electronic health records at any MTF worldwide, a huge force multiplier.
  • Your local MTF: Talk to your local MTF virtual health point of contact. If your MTF does not have one yet, the VMC can connect you to experts.
  • ADVISOR Help Line: The Advanced Virtual Support for Operational Forces system, or ADVISOR, provides on-demand telephone and secure video consultations with specialty providers during emergencies. Originally designed for field personnel, ADVISOR now enables any MTF to get 24/7 live help with COVID-19 cases. Operators route calls to on-call MHS providers with operational experience in:
  • Infectious disease (pediatric/adult)
  • Palliative care
  • Critical care (pediatric/adult)

Remembering for the Future

Virtual health is undeniably different from traditional practice and can take getting used to. The technological, logistical and even cultural hurdles we encounter in adopting it – or any new practice born of crisis – are worth overcoming to help ensure patients receive the care they need anytime, anywhere.

That is especially important to remember once things return to “the new normal.” One of the biggest mistakes we can make when a crisis abates is to forget why we needed to change in the first place, and to think that those changes applied just to that situation instead of informing our practice going forward.

Virtual health is going to be part of that future, to the point that in five years, we won’t be saying virtual health or telemedicine, just -- medicine.

We need to learn from our COVID-19 experience and change our tools, processes and workflows as needed so we are better prepared for all world-changing incidents, not just the next pandemic. If we do, we will show that when we say “we’ll do anything for our patients,” we really mean it.

You also may be interested in...

Holiday Season Guidance to Minimize Spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019

Publication
11/16/2020

This memorandum provides guidance to help protect individuals within the DoD community from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) for gatherings and activities during the November to January holiday season.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Updated Guidance for Performing Temperature Checks at Military MTFs and DTFs

Publication
10/21/2020

This guidance is an update to Defense Health Agency Return to Full Operations Concept of Operations, V5.0 (June 12, 2020) as it pertains to temperature checks in MTFs and DTFs. Based on recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), previous guidance directed MTFs to take the temperature of all individuals entering the facility. Effective immediately, temperature checks are not required; however, screening of individuals entering MTFs and DTFs and healthcare personnel on duty in the MTF or DTF is to continue.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

COVID-19 Social Media Toolkit

Publication
10/16/2020

These messages are provided for you to use on your platforms with any of the images from the COVID-19 Toolkit.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 12) -Department of Defense Guidance for Personnel Traveling During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
8/6/2020

This memorandum supplements requirements in references (a), (b), and (c) with respect to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and replaces reference (d). It provides pre- and post­travel guidance for purposes of force health protection (FHP) of Service members, DoD family members, DoD civilian employees, and DoD contractor personnel.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

TBI Hot Topics Bulletin May 2020

Publication
8/4/2020

Are you a busy health care provider? Not enough time to keep up with research? Stay informed with the TBI Hot Topics Bulletin. We track the latest TBI scientific studies, advances, and discoveries most relevant to health care providers. This issue covers the first quarter of calendar year 2020.

Recommended Content:

Traumatic Brain Injury | TBI Resources | Research and Innovation

Supplemental Guidance 10 for Military Medical Treatment Facilities and Military Dental Treatment Facilities Directors in regards to Coronavirus Disease 2019

Publication
7/1/2020

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Pharmacy Operations Division (POD) Reverse HPCON Status Guidance

Publication
6/24/2020

Guidance for Outpatient MTF Pharmacies in Response to COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID Pharmacy Guidance

Download Letter to Beneficiaries

Publication
6/24/2020

This message replaces guidance issued on March 31. It explains actions military pharmacies are taking to keep services and visits safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it outlines your pharmacy options as a TRICARE beneficiary.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID Pharmacy Guidance | TRICARE Health Program

Communication to ABA Providers Regarding Continued Temporary Authorization to Utilize Telehealth for CPT Code 97156 During the COVID-19 National Emergency

Publication
6/3/2020

TRICARE is announcing the continuation of the temporary exception to policy regarding the use of synchronous telehealth (TH) capabilities (both audio and video) for Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Family Adaptive Behavior Treatment Guidance services specifically during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Autism Care Demonstration | Coronavirus | TRICARE Health Program

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 9) -Department of Defense Guidance for Deployment and Redeployment of Individuals and Units during the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
5/26/2020

This memorandum provides force health protection (FHP) deployment and redeployment guidance for Service members (including Reserve Component (RC) and National Guard members in a title 10 or title 32 duty status) and DoD civilian employees deploying within and outside the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic, consistent with references (a) and (b).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Guidance for Commanders on Risk-Based Changing of Health Protection Condition Levels During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
5/20/2020

This memorandum provides guidance for commanders to consider when making decisions to change health protection condition (HPCON) levels as COVID-19 pandemic conditions on and adjacent to our installations begin to improve.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Resuming Elective Surgical, Invasive, and Dental Procedures in Military Medical and Dental Treatment Facilities

Publication
5/19/2020

This memorandum provides guidance on how each Military Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) and Dental Treatment Facility (DTF) may resume elective medical and dental procedures.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus

Modification and Reissuance of DoD Response to Coronavirus Disease 2019 -Travel Restrictions

Publication
4/20/2020

All DoD Service members will stop movement, both internationally and domestically, while this memorandum is in effect. All DoD civilian personnel, and dependents of DoD Service members and DoD civilian personnel, whose travel is Government-funded will stop movement, both internationally and domestically, while this memorandum is in effect.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Implementation Guidance for Presidential Memorandum, "Providing Federal Support for Governor's Use of the National Guard to Respond to COVID-19 ," Dated April 7, 2020

Publication
4/14/2020

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Benefits Eligibility for 32 USC 502(f) Missions

Publication
4/14/2020

A chart outlining the various Benefits Eligibility for 32 USC 502(f) Missions

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | TRICARE Health Program
<< < 1 2 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 2

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.