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...

DHA PI 3201.05: Technology Transfer (T2) Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI) based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (t), establishes responsibilities, procedures, and guidance for the Defense Health Agency’s (DHA) T2 program.

  • Identification #: 3201.05
  • Date: 6/20/2019
  • Type: DHA Procedural Instruction
  • Topics: Technology

Nutrition Management Information System (NMIS)

Fact Sheet
6/19/2019

NMIS is a fully integrated nutrition management system supporting military readiness and the war fighter worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System – Hearing Conservation (DOEHRS-HC)

Fact Sheet
6/17/2019

The Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System – Hearing Conservation (DOEHRS-HC) is an information system designed to support personal auditory readiness and help prevent hearing loss through early detection.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Hearing Loss | Solution Delivery Division

Military Health System (MHS) Population Health Portal (PHP)

Fact Sheet
6/11/2019

Military Health System (MHS) Population Health Portal (PHP) Fact Sheet

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Patient Encounter Processing and Reporting (PEPR)

Fact Sheet
6/11/2019

PEPR allows analysis of purchased care claims data created by the TRICARE Managed Care Support Contractors.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Coding and Compliance Editor (CCE)

Fact Sheet
6/11/2019

CCE supports the Department of Defense efforts to improve coding accuracy and reimbursements for inpatient and outpatient services.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Expense Assignment System (EAS IV)

Fact Sheet
6/11/2019

EAS IV is a Web-based tool essential to the Department of Defense because it assists the Defense Health Agency in identifying the total cost of providing health care to TRICARE patients.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division

Smartphone Apps for Psychological Health: A Brief State of the Science Review

Publication
5/14/2019

In this brief state of the science review, we provide a synopsis of the literature on psychological health mobile applications (apps) and discuss the impact of mobile technology on psychological health practice. We describe the variety of psychological health app uses from self-management, skills training, and supportive care to symptom tracking and data collection; and we summarize the current evidence for the efficacy and effectiveness of psychological health apps. Finally, we offer some pragmatic suggestions for evaluating psychological health apps for quality and clinical utility.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Connected Health

Cultural Considerations in Using Mobile Health in Clinical Care With Military and Veteran Populations

Publication
5/14/2019

Traditional cultural models typically address factors like ethnicity, language, and race as important concerns pertaining to treatment efficacy, but over the years, professionals have expanded the focus to include gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, and other aspects of identity and experience, including military cultural issues. As the integration of mobile health increases in clinical care, another important cultural factor that can impact care is technological culture. Differences in perception of technological competence by patient and provider can impact the provider’s ability to effectively connect with the patient and fully leverage tools to support evidence-based treatment.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Connected Health

Mobile Applications for Client Use: Ethical and Legal Considerations

Publication
5/14/2019

Mobile applications (apps) to support behavioral health are increasing in number and are recommended frequently by medical providers in a variety of settings. As with the use of any adjunct tool in therapy, psychologists adopting new technologies in clinical practice must comply with relevant professional ethics codes and legal standards. However, emerging technologies can outpace regulations regarding their use, presenting novel ethical considerations. Therefore, it is incumbent upon providers to extrapolate current ethical standards and laws to new technologies before they recommend them as adjuncts to face-to-face treatment. This article identifies best practices for incorporating apps into treatment, including competence in the use of smartphones in general and familiarity with the specific apps recommended.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Connected Health

Military Health System Management Analysis and Reporting Tool (M2)

Fact Sheet
4/5/2019

M2 is a powerful ad-hoc query tool used to manage and oversee operations worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Technology

Defense Occupational and Environmental Health Readiness System – Industrial Hygiene (DOEHRS-IH)

Fact Sheet
4/5/2019

DOEHRS-IH allows the Department of Defense (DoD) to manage occupational and environmental health risk data and actively track biological, chemical, physical health hazards and engineered nano-object process to service members worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Technology

Military Health System Data Repository (MDR)

Fact Sheet
4/5/2019

The MDR is the centralized data repository that captures, archives, validates, integrates and distributes Defense Health Agency (DHA) corporate health care data worldwide.

Recommended Content:

Technology | MDR, M2, ICDs Functional Support

Defense Medical Human Resources System – internet (DMHRSi)

Fact Sheet
4/4/2019

DMHRSi manages human resources for the Defense Health Agency. It is the only Integrated Human Resource System within the Department of Defense.

Recommended Content:

Technology

Centralized Credentials Quality Assurance System (CCQAS)

Fact Sheet
3/14/2019

Centralized Credentials Quality Assurance System (CCQAS) is a web-based worldwide credentialing, privileging, risk management and adverse actions application that supports more than 105,000 professionals providing health and wellness services to active duty military personnel, their families and selected retirees.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Solution Delivery Division
<< < ... 41 42 43 44 45 > >> 
Showing results 616 - 630 Page 42 of 45

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.