Back to Top Skip to main content

NICoE & ISC Network maintain TBI care during COVID-19

Image of United States map with locations noted This map shows the location of the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) and Intrepid Spirit Centers (ISC) that span across the country to create the NICoE and ISC Network. (Image from NICoE Communications.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Traumatic Brain Injury

In the first six months of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 8,300 patients sustained or were diagnosed with their first traumatic brain injury (TBI) across the Department of Defense.

The National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) and Intrepid Spirit Centers (ISC) across the country make up the NICoE and ISC Network—a group dedicated to TBI care, research, and education. Though the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted normal operations, the Network synchronized enterprise capabilities to coordinate TBI care.

Coordinating Patient Care across the Network

Within two weeks of the pandemic’s official declaration, ISC directors began strategizing telehealth transitions, sharing lessons learned, and brainstorming alternatives to improve readiness, while still adhering to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to ensure patient and staff safety.

The Network leveraged their geographic distribution to help each other quickly adapt to changing times. Staff exchanged ideas on personal protective equipment and clinical service offerings to remain prepared.

Staff members formed specialty working groups to share best practices with others across the Network who work in their field. Current TBI working groups include health systems specialists, case managers, physical therapy professionals, speech language pathology professionals, nutritionists and dieticians, and neuropsychologists.

The NICoE’s TBI Portal is the Defense Health Agency (DHA) enterprise application within CarePoint that provides a consolidated view of TBI patient data. During the pandemic, the ISC Network and several TBI clinics used the TBI Portal and other enterprise capabilities to track in real-time the clinical services received by TBI patients and track outcome measures regardless of treatment mode and location.

Training efforts crossed state and international borders. For instance, providers at ISC Fort Hood in Texas and ISC Fort Carson in Colorado received training for virtual health platforms from the TBI clinic at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany. Overall, the Network supported 30 virtual health training sessions during the first 90 days of the pandemic to transition many clinical services to a virtual environment.

ISC Fort Belvoir in Virginia transitioned from offering no virtual health clinical encounters to offering 100% fully capable virtual health operations within one week for all clinical providers. Since March, there has been a 40% increase in virtual health appointments across the Network.

Patient Outcomes

Many patients have expressed gratitude for the NICoE and ISCs continuing their clinical services offerings throughout the pandemic. One patient at the NICoE who suffers from TBI-related migraines appreciates not having to drive to the NICoE, located at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The NICoE staff has helped him control the light and sound at home during appointments, which has improved his concentration and allowed him to take in information more effectively.

Another TBI patient at ISC Fort Belvoir wrote, “[The FBCH] Intrepid [Spirit Center] employs the best physicians and front desk staff in the military. They are professional, knowledgeable, and innovative; their teamwork sets them apart from every other hospital I’ve ever visited … They’ve been extremely responsive and proactive despite the ongoing COVID in-clinic restrictions.”

“Our local response to COVID-19 was significantly enhanced due to the connective tissue, collective brain power, and institutional experience shared by the NICoE and ISC Network leadership,” according to Dr. Scott Engel, ISC Fort Hood director. “The Network's ongoing partnership and communication allowed us to leverage the TBI Portal, share and disseminate lessons learned throughout the TBI Enterprise, and adjust and adapt to the changing day-to-day conditions on the ground so that our patients got the care they needed for mission readiness.”

Looking Forward

As the Network expands its enterprise-wide capabilities, it aims to provide better tracking and patient outcomes and improve standardized metrics used across the Military Health System. It also plans to deepen its partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs to better provide continuing care as service members transition out of the military.

Proper TBI care can improve force readiness by allowing service members to safely resume their active-duty roles and lead healthier lives, according to Eddy Bueno, deputy director of the NICoE.

You also may be interested in...

DOD Announces Use of Masks, Other Public Health Measures

Article
2/9/2021
Woman wearing a mask

Department of Defense updates the use of masks requirements to align to the most current CDC guidelines.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Toolkit

Military, medical leaders discuss COVID-19 issues with Service Members

Article
2/8/2021
Mr. and Mrs. Milley, wearing masks, standing in front of various flags.

Fauci said it is impossible to get COVID-19 from the vaccine, and it will "absolutely not" enter into a person's DNA.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DOD COVID-19 vaccine roll-out continues, eye on long-term readiness

Article
2/4/2021
Soldier getting a vaccine in his left arm

The impact of the COVID-19 vaccines on military readiness is unknown, but members are encouraged to get the shots as soon as they become available.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Eliminating the pandemic - one shot at a time

Article
2/3/2021
Tom Danaher was one of approximately several hundred 75 years and older beneficiaries who were administered their initial dose of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine.

NHB / NMRTC Bremerton moves forward with the phased approach of the COVID-19 vaccines

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Blood donations remain vital for Service Member care

Article
2/3/2021
Man walking with assistance at a PT clinic

Putting a human face on the act of giving blood could help drive blood donations. And first-tme donors often become sustaining donors.

Recommended Content:

Holiday Observances | Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Innovative mobile technologies impact DOD health surveillance

Article
2/2/2021
Medical personnel using a syringe to inject a fluid into a test tube

Early detection of infectious diseases in the field to protect the troops.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Research and Innovation | Technology

DOD experts explain: The science behind the COVID-19 vaccines

Article
2/1/2021
Medical personnel in PPE, conducting lab tests

Six weeks after the first vaccines were approved for emergency use authorization in the U.S., there is much more to know about the vaccine products developed against COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

COVID-19 presents challenges to heart health, physical fitness

Article
2/1/2021
Four military personnel, wearing masks, running on a track

Because of COVID-19 shutdowns, the overall health of both military personnel and beneficiaries has taken a hit over the last year.

Recommended Content:

February Toolkit | Healthy Heart and Total Force Fitness | Preventing Heart Disease | Coronavirus | Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Heart Health

SAMHS starts next phase of vaccine rollout, expands to 75 and older

Article
1/28/2021
Medical personnel giving a vaccine to a soldier in her right arm

Vaccinations for eligible 1b military personnel will be coordinated by their military units.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Is It Your Time to Get the Vaccine?

DHA director visits San Antonio military units, JBSA vaccination sites

Article
1/26/2021
Three military personnel, wearing masks, talking with each other in a hospital hallway

Army Lt. Gen Ronald Place, DHA director, recently visited JBSA vaccination sites and several other military locations in the greater San Antonio region.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DOD vaccinating personnel worldwide against COVID-19

Article
1/26/2021
Two soldiers, wearing masks: one is getting a vaccine in his left arm

One-month update of COVID-19 distribution and administration efforts to DOD personnel.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

MHS Transformation results continue during COVID-19

Article
1/21/2021
Military personnel in a supply room, reaching for the top shelf

The MTF transition has enabled the DHA and the Services to increase standardization, eliminate duplicative contracts, and realize cost efficiencies by beginning the management of an enterprise-wide program.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS Transformation

DOD recommends adults 75 and older should seek COVID-19 vaccine

Article
1/19/2021
Nursing home members, wearing masks, wait in a line to get their COVID vaccine

This age recommendation differs slightly from that of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends vaccinations for those 65 and older.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Is It Your Time to Get the Vaccine? | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine for Adults Age 75 and Older

Partnerships, COVID-19 are catalysts for enterprise virtual health

Article
1/14/2021
Image of Mr. Adler with text: "Partnerships, COVID-19 are catalysts for enterprise virtual health."

Jamie Adler, the lead for the DHA’s Virtual Health Clinical Integration Office, discusses the future of virtual health (VH).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Connected Health

COVID-19 hinders blood donations during National Blood Donor Month

Article
1/14/2021
Navy Capt. R. Wade Blizzard, commanding officer of U.S. Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia, donates blood for the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Units Diego Garcia walking blood bank on Dec. 17, 2020. The walking blood bank is a list of eligible donors who can provide blood in case of emergency. (U.S. Navy photo by Navy Seaman Apprentice Stevin Atkins)

Life-saving blood is in high-demand by the Armed Services Blood Program, as the COVID-19 has negatively impacted donations.

Recommended Content:

Armed Services Blood Program | Public Health | Coronavirus | Holiday Observances
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 22

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.