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

MTFs respond to COVID-19 with increased telehealth, drive-thrus

Military physician sitting at desk, talking to patient on his computer Lt. Adam Hoynacki, a physician at Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Family Medicine Clinic, conducts a Navy Care virtual health visit. Like other military virtual health systems, Navy Care offers a live, virtual visit with a clinician, from the patient's smartphone, laptop, or computer. Patients can use it from work, home or anywhere that offers privacy. (Photo by Jacob Sippel, Naval Hospital Jacksonville.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Technology | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

The Military Health System’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic included practical solutions to complex medical and logistical problems at military medical treatment facilities.

As COVID-19 has spurred innovations in the way health care is delivered, virtual health, or telemedicine, has risen to the task of maintaining social distancing while offering providers, service personnel, and retirees and their beneficiaries the medical input they so critically need.

Through virtual health, “The Military Health System has coordinated policy, expanded video conferencing capability, increased on-demand clinical access and educated thousands of providers on safely providing care,” said Army Col. (Dr.) Sean Hipp, director, Virtual Medical Center, Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas.

“This is a revolution in military medicine that we hope will continue to expand safe, high quality, convenient care to garrison, but also be leveraged to support our most sacred mission of the deployed service member in harm’s way,” Hipp noted.

Many COVID-19 patients live in areas with limited critical care expertise and capacity. The Joint Tele-Critical Care Network (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,” said Dr. Simon Pincus, chief of the Defense Health Agency’s Connected Health Branch, during a recent presentation. “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.”

The 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.

The pandemic also saw an expansion in the use of the nursing advice line (NAL) and the implementation of a phone screening tool for COVID, with overall call volume up approximately 25% during the year.

The goal of the NAL is to alleviate patient concerns, provide multiple sources of evidence-based advice and protect patients and medical staff by offering telephone and, in some cases, video visits.

Image of hospital Seaman, wearing a mask, organizing prescriptions on various shelves in a pharmacy
Hospital Seaman Apprentice Gianna Tamburro, assigned to the Naval Medical Readiness Training Command, organizes prescriptions alphabetically by patient name at the Naval Health Clinic Charleston Pharmacy at Joint Base Charleston, S.C. The NHCC Pharmacy altered their customer service operations to have the primary way to obtain a prescription be through the drive-thru because of COVID safety precautions. (Photo by Airman Sara Jenkins, Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs.)

To minimize the risk of exposure to the beneficiaries and military medical treatment facility (MTF) staff, the NAL added capabilities to allow the scheduling of beneficiary virtual (telephone) visits with its care team. At its peak on March 19, the NAL had 10,247 calls. The numbers gradually declined but hit another high in July, DHA Healthcare Optimization Division Chief Regina Julian said. The screening tool uses questions from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-based guidelines to assess a patient’s risk for having COVID-19.

Between May 12 and Dec. 10, there were 6,602 page views and 5,176 users on the COVID-19 symptom checker website. A total of 576,421 unique patients have viewed their COVID-19-related test results online, Julian reported.

Additionally, the virtual support to operational force (ADVISOR) line, enabled on-demand provider-to-provider teleconsultation.

One onsite effort was to test asymptomatic patients thought to have COVID-19. Patients were sent to Naval Hospital Bremerton, Washington, from their respective commands, along with patients awaiting elective surgeries and those deemed necessary for administrative purposes. This testing led to new insights about the infection rates of the disease.

MTF pharmacies found ways to get patients their prescriptions with a minimum of patient-staff interaction by responding to DHA guidance on prescribing during COVID-19; while adhering to and state and local social-distancing requirements.

Each pharmacy has tailored solutions to fit its physical layout, staffing capacity and patient populations.

Some pharmacies, such as Brooke Army Medical Center, Texas, set up curbside pickup within 48 hours once the need for social distancing during the pandemic became known.

Since March 2020, the drive-through staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center (WRNMMC) has served more than 16,066 patients, amounting to approximately 59,444 prescriptions dispensed. That is approximately 10% of total patients served at the drive-through site, according to the medical center’s public affairs office.

The success of drive-throughs and curbside pickup has enabled new, convenient solutions that will continue across MTFs for the foreseeable future.

In September, WRNMMC opened a permanent prescription drive-through pick-up, which replaced earlier, more temporary, iterations.

“When conditions are met, it is the most efficient point of service of all our pharmacies, with wait times averaging one minute or less,” said Army Maj. Hyun Cho, chief, WRNMMC Department of Pharmacy.

You also may be interested in...

How Maintaining Prosthetic Services Can Help Prepare for the Next Fight

Article
11/18/2021
Navy Seaman Chris Krobath, a prosthetics patient at Naval Medical Center San Diego, reached for new heights on the hospital’s climbing wall as part of rehabilitation therapy.

Despite the winding down of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, Military Health System services for our wounded warriors, particularly those who have lost limbs in these conflicts, remain steady and may well increase in scope during the coming years.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Research and Innovation

Meet the Navy Lieutenant Who’s a ‘Rising Star’ in Health Care IT

Article
11/17/2021
Studio photograph of Navy Lt. Travis Kelley

Navy Lt. Travis Kelley was recognized as one of 10 innovators in the federal information technology field in October.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Military Health System Transformation

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

From Prosthetic Legs to Cranial Implants: How the MHS is using 3D Tech

Article
11/8/2021
3D MAC Director Peter Liacouras

30 years after the Gulf War, 3D technology is transforming medicine and lives.

Recommended Content:

Military Medical History | Technology

Vax Facts for Children

Infographic
11/4/2021

Should Young Children Get the COVID-19 Vaccine? Yes. The CDC recommends that children ages 5-11 receive the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 pediatric vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Vaccines for Children

Vaccine for Children TLDR

Infographic
11/4/2021

Vaccination is our best defense against the spread of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Vaccines for Children

New MHS Video Connect increases convenient access to care for patients

Article
11/4/2021
Air Force Lt. Col. John A. DaLomba

The MHS is rapidly expanding the number of facilities using MHS Video Connect, with all continental United States-based hospitals and clinics expected to have the capability by the end of 2021.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Access to Health Care | MHS Video Connect | Military Hospitals and Clinics

DHA-Policy Memorandum 21-004: Coronavirus Disease 2019 Vaccination Attestation, Screening Testing, and Vaccination Verification

Policy

This memorandum provides guidance on the implementation of vaccination, attestation, and testing requirements in accordance with the References listed in Attachment 1 to reduce the transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Pregnancy Health Alert: COVID-19 Vaccine is Strongly Recommended

Article
10/20/2021
Pregnant women gets the COVID-19 vaccine

Get vaccinated for COVID-19 if you’re pregnant or trying, DOD and CDC and advise.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Women's Health

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

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:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | 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

8000.01

Policy

Information Technology Infrastructure Service Delivery Management Program

  • Identification #: 8000.01
  • Date: 10/5/2021
  • Type: DHA Procedural Instruction
  • Topics: Technology
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 50

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.