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 | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

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...

DoD issues flexible instructions on response to Coronavirus

Article
3/13/2020
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). (CDC Illustration)

The memo covers aspects from before the outbreak through all levels of infection

Recommended Content:

Combat Support | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Terry M. Rauch, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.B.A. Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Force Health Protection and Readiness Regarding U.S. Biodefense and Response to the Novel Coronavirus Outbreak [Testified] Before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform

Congressional Testimony
3/11/2020

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus

COVID-19: Know what the terms mean

Article
3/10/2020
Soldiers stationed on U.S. Army Garrison Casey conduct pre-screening processes on individuals awaiting entry to the base, USAG-Casey, Dongducheon, Republic of Korea, Feb. 26, 2020. Additional screening measures of a verbal questionnaire and temperature check are in response to the heighted awareness of Coronavirus (COVID-19) following a surge in cases throughout the Republic of Korea and are meant to help control the spread of COVID-19 and to protect the force. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Amber I. Smith)

Learning the language can help you stay safe

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Combat Support | Coronavirus

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Article
3/6/2020
A Guardsmen with the 341st Military Intelligence Battalion conducts translation work on a safety message regarding the best practices for avoiding the novel coronavirus for the Washington Department of Health on Feb. 9, 2020 at the Information Operations Readiness Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. (Courtesy Photo)

Although news stories and images contain many reports of people wearing surgical masks to ward off the virus, that's not recommended

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

DoD makes plans to combat Coronavirus

Article
3/4/2020
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, speak to reporters at the Pentagon, March 2, 2020. (DoD photo Lisa Ferdinando)

The number one priority remains to protect our forces and their families

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Public Health | Combat Support | Coronavirus

MHS prepared to support interagency coronavirus response

Article
2/6/2020
Airmen assist one another in donning their personal protective equipment, while on-board an Air Force C-17 Globemaster III during transportation isolation system training at Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina. Engineered and implemented after the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014, the TIS is an enclosure the Department of Defense can use to safely transport patients with diseases like novel coronavirus. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Cody R. Miller)

From R&D to force health protection, MHS protects DoD personnel and families

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

DoD releases guidance to protect forces from novel coronavirus

Article
1/31/2020
The novel coronavirus is a variant of other coronaviruses, such as this colorized transmission electron micrograph of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) virus particles (blue) found near the periphery of an infected VERO E6 cell (yellow). Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID Integrated Research Facility in Fort Detrick, Maryland. (Photo by NIAID)

Basic infection controls offer best defense against illness

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Public Health | Coronavirus | Coronavirus

Coronavirus: What providers, patients should know

Article
1/24/2020
Many forms of coronavirus exist among both humans and animals, but this new strain’s has caused alarm. (CDC graphic)

What to do now that virus has appeared in U.S.

Recommended Content:

Global Health Engagement | Public Health | Coronavirus | Global Health Engagement | Coronavirus

Army, FDA discuss 3D printing at workshop

Article
1/21/2020
When a medical device breaks down on a medical unit deployed to a remote part of the world, the closest repair parts could be thousands of miles away (U.S. Army photo by Francis S. Trachta)

Army medical logisticians are looking to 3D printing as a potential solution to this challenge

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Technology | Combat Support | Medical Logistics

Artificial intelligence makes its way to dermatology clinic

Article
11/18/2019
Air Force Maj. Thomas Beachkofsky, 6th Health Care Operations Squadron dermatologist, uses a body scanner microscope to take a picture of a spot on his arm at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida. A new software upgrade allows a complex algorithm to analyze an image captured with a camera and rate the severity of the spot for a dermatologist to review. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adam R. Shanks)

The software was able to correctly identify 95% of malignant skin tumors

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Technology

Medical tools, supplies 3D printed in desert deployment

Article
11/1/2019
Army Lt. Col. Jason Barnhill, a faculty member of West Point and the Uniformed Services University’s Department of Radiology, poses for a photo with a 3D printer capable of biofabrication that could expedite repair or perhaps replace damaged tissues for troops injured on the battlefield. (Courtesy photo)

3D printing provides the ability to produce tailored health care solutions

Recommended Content:

Technology

State of the art procedure is the first within DoD

Article
10/28/2019
Retired Capt. Eugene Chalaire was the first to undergo an intricate cancer-preventive procedure performed at Womack Army Medical Center this summer. Womack is the first within the DoD to offer this service. (U.S. Army photo)

Only a handful of medical centers in the United States perform this surgery

Recommended Content:

Technology | Military Hospitals and Clinics

DHA IPM 18-013: Risk Management Framework (RMF)

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the guidance of References (d) through (ac): • Incorporates cybersecurity strategy, policy, awareness/training, assessment, continuous monitoring, authorization, implementation, and remediation. • Aligns with the Deputy Assistant Director, Information Operations (DAD IO) J-6/Chief Information Officer’s (CIO) key concept of increasing cybersecurity of Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) Information Technology (IT); therefore, robust risk assessment and management is required. • Encompasses lifecycle risk management to determine and manage the residual cybersecurity risk. • This DHA-IPM is effective immediately; it will be converted into a DHA-Procedural Instruction. This DHA-IPM will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue.

  • Identification #: 18-013
  • Date: 9/20/2019
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Technology

DHA IPM 18-011: Video Network Center (VNC) Endpoint Standards

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Interim Procedures Memorandum (DHA-IPM), based on the authority of References (a) through (c), and in accordance with the guidance of References (d) through (g): - Provides guidance for video network endpoint standards required for sites to connect to the Defense Health Agency (DHA) VNC network. These standards will help ensure security compliance, efficiency, and best practices are maintained across the DHA network. Meeting certification requirements brings many benefits, including: increased assurances of a successful video teleconference (VTC) experience, full access to bridge and point-to-point calls, and access to peer video networks, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, academia, and industry partners. Compliance with stated standards does not preclude users connecting to other DoD approved networks. - This DHA-IPM is effective immediately; it will be converted into a DHA-Procedural Instruction. This DHA-IPM will expire effective 12 months from the date of issue.

  • Identification #: 18-011
  • Date: 9/20/2019
  • Type: DHA Interim Procedures Memorandum
  • Topics: Technology

Special Needs Program Management Information System (SNPMIS)

Fact Sheet
8/15/2019

SNPMIS documents and reports on services provided to TRICARE patients with special needs.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division
<< < ... 41 42 43 44 45  ... > >> 
Showing results 601 - 615 Page 41 of 46

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.