Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

Top five digital health trends for military medical providers in 2021

Image of Dr. Pincus with text "Top Five Digital Health Trends for Military Medical Providers in 2021" Dr. Simon Pincus, chief of the Defense Health Agency Connected Health Branch, makes five health trend predictions for 2021. (Photo by Savannah Blackstock.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS

Few years have ever tested the endurance, skill, and resolve of the Military Health System like 2020. For 10 seemingly endless months, the COVID-19 pandemic has besieged the United States and military providers continue to defend the medical front lines every day. The fight won’t end with the New Year. We must continue to do all we can to ensure the health and safety of our beneficiaries, providers, and frontline health care workers in 2021 and thereafter.

Looking back on all we as a community have been through and learned, I suggest MHS providers keep an eye on these five digital health trends in 2021:

1. The COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate the need for virtual health, especially for tele-critical care: The COVID-19 pandemic response catapulted virtual health to a prominent role in the delivery of health care to our beneficiaries in the Department of Defense and the U.S. health care system as a whole. Through enterprise-wide processes, technology, and training, the Defense Health Agency has supported a local, regional, and global multi-tiered virtual health response that continues to sustain care while keeping beneficiaries and health care teams safe.

The spike in COVID-19 cases this winter is anticipated to significantly increase requirements for intensive care. A significant subset of those patients lives in areas with limited critical care expertise and capacity. DHA is helping address this shortfall through the Joint Tele-Critical Care Network. The JTCCN leverages virtual health to extend critical-care resources and treatment at a distance, similar in concept to how air traffic control systems track and direct planes to ensure they — and their passengers — safely reach their destinations.

The JTCCN provided almost 1,200 days of coverage to more than 300 unique patients in 61 intensive care unit beds across 11 spoke sites from January 2020 to June 2020. DHA is also exploring a partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a single federal tele-critical care network to provide care to any of the 1,700 VA or 400 DHA ICU beds.

2. Virtual health will catalyze conversations about the future of health care delivery: The many lessons learned from the COVID-19 response make it clear that virtual health will become an increasingly important and integral part of MHS care delivery for the foreseeable future. DHA is planning to ensure beneficiaries and care teams get the digital tools and support they need for high-quality care, anytime and anywhere.

Rapid adoption and acceptance of virtual health is already catalyzing significant, permanent change in culture and business processes throughout the MHS. The traditional paradigm has flipped — we have gone from unquestioningly assuming in-person care is the de facto standard to weighing many different options for safe, high-quality care. Should we work in the office or telework, synchronously or asynchronously? What patient care can be delivered virtually, which patients need to be seen in person, and how do we respond to patients’ new expectations?

3. The DHA transition and MHS GENESIS implementation will encourage standardization, optimization, and innovation: At the same time as COVID-19 and virtual health radically reshape the health care landscape, the MHS continues its own major transformation establishing a market-based structure for health care delivery and the continued support of medical readiness.

In this transition, DHA will combine all military medical treatment facilities and ensure they provide care in a unified, standardized way to all 9.6 million beneficiaries worldwide. This standardization of technology, processes, and workflows will improve health care access, delivery, outcomes, and patient experience of care. It will also help to reduce redundancies.

One way the MHS will provide that improved care is through DoD’s new electronic health record MHS GENESIS, which will continue its rollout through 2023. MHS GENESIS is not just an electronic health record — it’s a living, breathing system of care that translates evolving clinical needs into clinical workflows through health information technology.

As DOD and its partners advance each wave of deployment, health informatics experts at DHA leverage user feedback to improve the systems configuration at an enterprise level. These ongoing upgrades are designed to improve system usability for both patients and providers, as well as improve the continuity of care among facilities. Significant MHS GENESIS improvements include secure messaging between patients and their care teams and the ability of providers to dictate directly into the EHR.

4. Integration and interoperability will encourage new insights and partnerships: Patients, providers, and the MHS enterprise can truly benefit from the DHA transition and MHS GENESIS only if we ensure that the technology, strategy, policies, and guidance we put in place make it easy for them to connect with each other through digital and virtual means.

For that to happen, the technology needs to be interoperable. The MHS has a worldwide, highly mobile population that moves between legacy (such as AHLTA and Essentris®) and the new MHS GENESIS EHR. DHA has made progress toward an interoperability among MHS GENESIS, AHLTA, VA and health care networks through its Joint Longitudinal Viewer (formerly Joint Legacy Viewer) / joint Health Information Exchange. When fully deployed, MHS GENESIS will provide a single health record for all service members, eligible veterans, retirees, and their families.

Integration of technology is also essential. More integrated systems improve security and the ability to share information. Over time, integration of EHR and digital data from providers, patients, and remote health monitoring will create a well of data that—by applying artificial intelligence and predictive analytics—can help reduce redundancy and delay of care and improve outcomes. All these efforts are already in progress, it’s exciting.

We need to integrate all these efforts in rapid, agile ways, which requires coordination through partnerships. Multiple stakeholders across the MHS must work together to make that happen.

For the Connected Health Branch, coordinating across the MHS and its other partners is essential to help create a care system—both individuals and technology—that delivers integrated digital health that improves both health and military readiness.

5. Successful providers will keep patients at the center of care: We not only have to partner at the organizational level, we have to individually treat each patient as a partner as well. We have to understand where our patients are coming from, meet them where they are, and put them at the center of everything we do.

Having an open, flexible mindset on how to collaborate with patients, especially by leveraging digital means, to accomplish health care goals is important these days. Patients often do their own research into health care treatments and tools (and providers!) using technology.

As providers, we need to listen. If we’re not engaging patients as the savvy consumers they are, we’ve lost them at hello. That disconnect could determine whether the patient is able to effectively use safe, evidence-based digital health tools, or we learn about valuable new research and technology to help that patient and others.

This year has taught all MHS providers unforgettable lessons and will forever change how we view and accomplish our mission to ensure military readiness. Next year will push us to be more innovative than ever before. The new year also gives us the opportunity to partner with each other, our organizations, and our patients, so we can all expand lifesaving and health-improving capabilities for service members, their families, and the country.

You also may be interested in...

Army Public Health Center provides update on Long COVID risks

Article Around MHS
12/1/2021
COVID19 Symptoms

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Post-COVID conditions are a wide range of new, returning, or ongoing health problems people can experience four or more weeks after first being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

JTF Coyote begins pediatric COVID-19 clinics as adult booster vaccination numbers increase

Article Around MHS
11/23/2021
Military health personnel giving the COVID-19 vaccine

The Vermont National Guard now supports the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic with vaccinations for youth in the 5 to 11 age group and booster clinics for the general adult population.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

LANT Area Members: it’s your turn to receive your electronic health record

Article Around MHS
11/19/2021
Military personnel looking at a computer

MHS GENESIS, the Coast Guard’s new electronic health record solution deployed to the Coast Guard’s 26 clinics and 48 sickbays in the Atlantic Area last week.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

Future Patient Health Education Portal Will Be “Source of Truth”

Article
11/16/2021
Military personnel typing on a computer

DHA is prototyping a Virtual Education Center solution to provide vetted patient information in an easily accessible online resource, aimed at providing quick and consistent answers to questions that inevitably arise between medical appointments.

Recommended Content:

Ready Reliable Care | Defense Health Agency Strategy | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

MHS Reaches 6 Million Doses of Vaccine Against COVID

Article
11/10/2021
Airmen of the 139th Airlift Wing, Missouri Air National Guard, receive COVID-19 immunizations as a part of the federal mandate at Rosecrans Air National Guard Base, St. Joseph, Missouri, Oct. 2, 2021. The 139th Medical Group oversees the operation. .

Military passes 6 million mark for COVID-19 shots administered across the Military Health System.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

COVID 19 Vaccine Is Now Available for Children 5 to 11

Article
11/9/2021
5-year-old girl in mask reads a book by herself

COVID-19 vaccines for 5-11 year olds are ready now through MHS

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

MHS GENESIS ‘Super Users’ Fuel MTF Transformations

Article
10/26/2021
Military personnel cutting the cord during the system's launch

The MHS GENESIS Super User is the fuel that drives our MTFs’ organizational transformation.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS Toolkit | MHS GENESIS

More Than 95% of Active Duty Have Received COVID-19 Vaccine

Article
10/15/2021
Female hospital corpsman gives a COVID-19 vaccine injection to a sailor in her left arm

Service members continue to line up for COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Information for Military Treatment Facility Directors

MHS GENESIS: New electronic health record coming soon to the San Antonio Market

Article Around MHS
10/13/2021
A woman looks at her computer monitor.

The San Antonio Market will transition to the new electronic health record system – known as MHS GENESIS – in January 2022.

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Transformation | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Genesis of MHS GENESIS

USECAF receives insight into COVID19 vaccinations at Reserve wing

Article Around MHS
10/8/2021
Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visits with 433rd Airlift Wing members at Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, Oct. 2, 2021.

Under Secretary of the Air Force Gina Ortiz Jones visited the 433rd Airlift Wing here to meet with Reserve Citizen Airmen leaders on mandatory COVID-19 vaccination efforts, Oct. 2, 2021.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus

Mask Mouth Does Not Exist, Dentists Say

Article
10/6/2021
A bunch of children wearing face masks walk on a city street.

Mask mouth doesn’t exist, Internet chatter to the contrary, dentists say.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

Compassionate Caring with COVID Vax Commitment

Article Around MHS
10/6/2021
A  female doctor poses for a photo.

When pregnant patients have an appointment with Lt. Cmdr. Megan Northup at Naval Hospital Bremerton, they get more than a qualified and caring OB/GYN physician.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

MHS GENESIS: A new era of electronic healthcare record keeping

Article Around MHS
10/1/2021
Col. Stephanie Ku, 15th Medical Group commander, cuts a cord with 15th MDG members and Military Health System Genesis project integrators during the MHS Genesis launch ceremony at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Sept. 25, 2021.

The new electronic health record provides enhanced and secure technology to manage health information and is intended to serve as a focal point for all military branches.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

Yes, You Can Still Get Old Medical Records after MHS GENESIS Transition

Article
10/1/2021
Image of the back of a man scanning IT equioment

As the Military Health System rolls out a standardized electronic health record, MHS GENESIS, across all Defense Health Agency-managed military medical treatment facilities, legacy patient records are kept in the Joint Longitudinal Viewer application.

Recommended Content:

Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Genesis of MHS GENESIS | HIPAA Information Papers

Health Promotion duo optimizes health on Incirlik Air Base

Article Around MHS
9/30/2021
Air Force Capt. Sydney Sloan, 39th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion element chief (right), and Air Force Senior Airman Gloriann Manapsal, 39th Operational Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion technician (left), promote making healthy choices at the Sultan’s Inn Dining Facility on Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.

The 39th Operation Medical Readiness Squadron health promotion team provides and integrates evidence-based programs to optimize the health and readiness, even during these unprecedented times.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Total Force Fitness | Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 40

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.