Skip to main content

Military Health System

Military Health System experts discuss COVID-19 innovations

Image of Four men wearing masks, holding COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chamber. Raul Martinez, Robert Serrano, Tim Ahlstrom, and Kevin Waller, maintenance workers with Fort Bliss Directorate of Plans Training Mobilization and Security, volunteered to construct 40 COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chambers (CAMICs) for William Beaumont Army Medical Center, in the hopes that it will help save a patient who may have the novel coronavirus disease known as COVID-19. CAMICs have already been used in over 100 surgical procedures within the MHS. (Photo by Amabilia Payen, William Beaumont Army Medical Center)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Rapid innovation serves as a cornerstone of the Military Health System, allowing for advances that improve the health and safety of service members and beneficiaries, according to Dr. Paul Cordts, chief medical officer at the Defense Health Agency in Falls Church, Virginia. Cordts and three other medical experts discussed the medical innovations resulting from the COVID-19 national emergency at a health innovation virtual roundtable Monday, July 27.

Necessity is often the mother of invention, which was the case with development of the COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chamber, or CAMIC. 

“With reports of COVID-19 wreaking havoc in New York City in mid-March and the looming shortage of PPE and so many unknowns at that time, we were really looking for additional ways to protect health care workers, especially during surgical and clinical procedures,” said Army Maj. (Dr.) Steven Hong, assistant professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) and chief of head and neck surgical oncology and reconstructive surgery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. 

Three surgeons in hospital room wearing masks
Lt. Col. Eric Weber (far right), chief medical officer, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and his colleagues demonstrate how to effectively use the COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chamber (CAMIC), a device that serves as a barrier protecting healthcare workers from aerosolized droplets by capturing and removing viral particles emitted from the patient, May 19, at WBAMC’s surgical room. (Photo by Amabilia Payen, William Beaumont Army Medical Center)

After putting in a collective 2,000 hours, Hong and his colleagues at WRNMMC and other agencies within the Department of Defense developed a barrier device constructed by draping a large clear plastic bag over a box-like frame made from PVC piping. The CAMIC, when placed over the head, neck, and shoulders of the patient during surgery, protects staff from airborne particles. The invention received emergency-use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration in May and has already been used in over 100 medical procedures within the MHS. 

The current COVID-19 crisis also provided an opportunity for the MHS to leverage both new and existing digital technologies, said Dr. Simon Pincus, director, Connected Health Branch, Defense Health Agency in Tacoma, Washington. In response to the demand for information in a quickly changing clinical environment when treating viral diseases, researchers at the Connected Health Branch created the Antimicrobial Stewardship application to provide up-to-date guidelines for infectious diseases, including COVID-19. 

They also curated a resource toolkit to prevent burnout among health care staff as a result of compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress from caring for patients. The Provider Resilience mobile app addresses an issue often seen in war among health care providers, but is also now appearing in the war against COVID-19. 

“When you’re in combat, you’re not going home from the trauma that you see, you’re actually potentially at risk in being a victim of trauma,” Pincus said. “This is kind of similar to COVID-19 where the providers are on the front lines and the health care teams taking care of patients are also at risk with the same outcome … so one of the innovations we pivoted was a provider resilience suite of self-care.”

More than its innovations, however, the MHS itself is pioneering because of its uniqueness to any other system in the world, said Air Force Col. (Dr.) Todd Rasmussen, professor of surgery, associate dean of research, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. 

“In broad strokes, because we are a global health system, we have providers and labs and beneficiaries around the world,” he said, noting the unique ability of the system to partner with civilian medicine and other elements of the government and private industry. 

A substantial research investment within the DoD to steward funds toward requirements also sets the MHS apart. “Medical appropriation that comes to the Department of Defense is applied to the health, readiness, recovery, and care of mostly the war fighters but [also] all of our beneficiaries,” he explained. “If we say the requirement of 2020 is COVID-19, the DoD is able to pretty naturally then shift the focus of that requirements-driven medical research into the pandemic and pandemic-related topics, just like it did in the early 2000s when the priorities, or the requirements, were for hemorrhage control and resuscitation, limb salvage and such,” he added.

During the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Joint Trauma System and its trauma registry allowed for the sharing of real-time data that led to innovations in blood transfusion and life-saving techniques. The trauma registry informed the build of the COVID-19 registry, providing real-time data to evaluate and adjust clinical practice, therapies, and other guidelines, explained Cordts.

“We went to the JTS because they had a registry that allowed us to gather real-world data; they have a global network of performance improvement and care improvement where we discuss … the care of—and how best to diagnose and treat—patients with COVID-19,” added Rasmussen. 

The implementation of the DoD’s new electronic health record MHS GENESIS has also helped clinicians adjust workflow and adapt in triaging in-person clinic visits with virtual visits during the pandemic, said Cordts. 

“We're taking a very careful look at virtual health, the safety and efficacy of virtual health, and trying to learn what we can about where virtual health appears to be most beneficial for our patients in terms of improving their access, but also on improving the quality and safety of the care they receive virtually,” Corts added.

You also may be interested in...

DODEA Schools Keeps On With In-Person Classes, and Fall Sports, Too

Article
9/23/2021
Kids playing football

DODEA schools are striving to continue in-person learning in the 2021-22 school year.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Health Care Workers are Coping

Article
9/13/2021
a nurse helping a COVID-19 patient

For health care providers, experiencing the pandemic inside a hospital has brought

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Podcasts

Increased COVID Restrictions on the Pentagon Reservation

Article
9/8/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and positive test cases in the National Capital Region, the Pentagon Reservation will move to Health Protection Condition Bravo Plus (Bravo+)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Digital health innovation emerges during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
8/31/2021
The Defense Health Agency’s Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic. (Graphic courtesy of DHA Connected Health)

The DHA's Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise, and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Health Care Technology | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

As Fitness Tests Resume, Troops Seek Post-COVID Exercise Routines

Article
8/31/2021
Military personnel physically training

Keeping fit during pandemic proves hard for some.

Recommended Content:

Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Secretary of Defense Mandates COVID-19 Vaccinations for Service Members

Article
8/26/2021
An Army medic administers the COVID-19 vaccine to another soldier.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III yesterday issued a memorandum directing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for service members.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DOD Intends to Mandate Pfizer Vaccine, Pentagon Official Says

Article
8/25/2021
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby holds a press briefing, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Kirby said the health of DOD's military and civilian employees, families and communities is a top priority.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Maintaining Mission Readiness During a Pandemic

Article
8/24/2021
Gen. Place presents at HIMSS in Las Vegas.

DHA Director Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place discussed the national security implications of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Health Readiness Support

Reform, COVID-19 Have Been Catalysts for Change in Military Medicine

Article
8/16/2021
Dr. Terry Adirim speaking to an audience at a conference

Healthcare is about taking care of people, so no amount of change or innovation is ever sufficient if modernization does not lead to helping patients, says acting ASDHA at HIMSS21 in Las Vegas.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Military Health System Transformation

Don't Hesitate: Vaccinate Today for School

Article
8/13/2021
A boy gets the COVID-19 vaccine

Back to School Means Vaccine Time

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Immunization Healthcare Division | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Recommendations | Children's Health | Immunizations | Information for Patients: About TRICARE

Services Will Make Call on Religious Exemptions to COVID-19 Vaccines

Article
8/13/2021
Two medical people prepare syringes with doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

"There is a religious exemption possibility for any mandatory vaccine, and there's a process that we go through to counsel the individual both from a medical and from a command perspective about using a religious exemption," Kirby said.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Austin Seeks Presidential Approval for Mandatory Troop Vaccinations by Mid-September

Article
8/10/2021
Sailors receive COVID-19 vaccinations

The COVID-19 vaccine will be mandatory for service members by mid-September, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said in a message to the force released yesterday.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Top Military Medical Doctor Predicts Coronavirus Longevity

Article
8/9/2021
Army Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place, director of Defense Health Agency, delivers remarks at a media briefing on COVID-19 at the Pentagon, April 21, 2021

I believe we will get to a place where we're not talking about COVID all the time

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Senior Medical Leaders Discuss COVID-19 Response

Article
8/6/2021
Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald J. Place, director of the Defense Health Agency making remarks

The keys to tackling the emerging COVID-19 pandemic were to quickly develop a comprehensive understanding of the virus, and then put a plan in place to fight it, says DHA Director.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Debunking Anti-Vaccine Myths with Scientific Facts

Article
8/5/2021
A soldier gets a shot in the arm.

Get the facts: Myths on why not to get COVID-19 vaccination debunked by science

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 14
Refine your search
Last Updated: July 09, 2021
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery