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

Tele-critical care will play increased COVID-19 response role in 2021

Image of Infographic that says "202 tele-critical care successes will help 2021 COVID19 response". The COVID-19 pandemic, the deadliest global health threat in more than a century, galvanized the Military Health System in 2020. Navy Capt. Konrad Davis is director of DHA Tele-Critical Care (Photo by: Savannah Blackstock).

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | Health Innovation Toolkit

The Military Health System's success in adapting and expanding tele-critical care programs for critically ill patients in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic will play an essential role in bringing the virus under control in 2021.

The Defense Health Agency's tele-critical care programs have cared for thousands of patients, leveraging information and communications technologies to dynamically allocate and extend critical care capacity to the point of need, anytime and anywhere, especially to community hospitals and smaller intensive care units in remote locations.

"The number of COVID-19 cases continues to underscore the need for proactive virtual health planning and implementation," said U.S. Navy Capt. (Dr.) Konrad Davis, MHS director of tele-critical care. “The recent, rapid maturation of virtual health capabilities have made it possible to not only respond to the COVID-19 pandemic but to also prepare for future disasters as well — both natural and human-made."

Tele-critical care and other virtual health programs help sustain care while keeping beneficiaries and health care teams at a safe distance, said Jamie L. Adler, lead of the Virtual Health Clinical Integration Office at the Defense Health Agency Connected Health Branch.

The effectiveness of the virtual health programs has made tele-critical care an ever more important enterprise capability, and its popularity with providers and patients alike has made it integral to health care going forward, he said.

Joint Tele-Critical Care Network

A notable DHA success in 2020 was the expansion of the Joint Tele-Critical Care Network, an important force multiplier that leverages virtual health resources to extend critical care expertise and treatment at a distance. Critical care physicians, also known as intensivists, and critical care nurses located at three hub sites treat patients located at a growing number of spoke sites worldwide.

Once fully deployed, the JTCCN will allow intensivists to monitor hundreds of intensive care unit beds simultaneously through a setup conceptually similar to how air traffic control systems ensure planes — and their passengers — safely reach their destinations, Davis said.

The system tracks and analyzes vital signs, lab results, progress notes, and other real-time data, which helps providers quickly identify patients at risk for deterioration and more effectively intervene to improve outcomes.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the JTCCN added seven new spoke site hospitals during calendar year 2020, nearly doubling the number of participating locations. In all of 2020, the JTCCN provided over 2,200 days of ICU coverage to 432 unique patients in 109 ICU beds spread across 15 spoke site hospitals. The JTCCN plans to add one additional spoke site hospital in calendar year 2021.

National Emergency Tele-Critical Care Network

In addition to leveraging existing resources such as the JTCCN, the DHA is working with the Telehealth and Advanced Technology Research Center, leaders at the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, academia, and industry to develop a rapidly deployable, hardware-light TCC capability. Launched in March 2020, the National Emergency Tele-Critical Care Network seeks to expand capabilities and capacity by augmenting bedside personnel who may lack the knowledge and skills to care for critically ill patients.

One NETCCN prototype has already demonstrated its effectiveness at a civilian hospital in Guam, Davis said.

In late August 2020, COVID-19 case numbers there spiked to more than 200 percent their normal volume, outstripping local resources. Guam Memorial Hospital reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which coordinated with the Defense Security Cooperation Agency. Roughly 72 hours after receiving its official DSCA mission assignment, the DHA shared a NETCCN mobile technology solution enabling the JTCCN to provide cyber-secure and HIPAA-compliant on-demand consultative support and monitoring for critically ill civilian patients.

Intensivists and nurses at DHA tele-critical care hub sites in California, Texas, and Washington state provided real-time guidance to bedside staff providing hands-on care. The system - still in use - vastly improved the ability of Guam's civilian providers to treat patients and save lives. Over a one-month period at the peak of the surge, the JTCCN fielded 64 physician calls and supported the care of 473 patient-ICU days, including 14 events of cardiac arrest.

Partnerships Key to Success

The on-the-ground successes of the JTCCN, NETCCN, and tele-critical care would not have been possible without partnerships the Department of Defense is cultivating among its own components, between itself and other U.S. government agencies, and between DOD and commercial and non-governmental organizations, said Dr. Simon Pincus, chief of the DHA Connected Health Branch. These collaborations help ensure tele-critical care capabilities can seamlessly reach across organizations through compatible technology, training, and protocols.

To increase surge capacity and technologic resiliency, the DOD is also pursuing a partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs to create a single federal tele-critical care network for all U.S. forces globally, Davis said.

This network would enable any DOD or VA hub site to provide tele-critical care to any of the 1,700 VA or 400 DOD ICU beds through real-time distribution of workload to locations with capacity. The resulting partnership will enhance technological resiliency while also improving surge capability in response to pandemics and other crises. The goal is to have completely interoperable systems between the two largest users of tele-critical care in the U.S. government.

You also may be interested in...

Medical Leaders Address COVID-19 Concerns During Family Forum

Article
1/21/2022
Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Jemuel Macabali, from San Diego, Calif., gives the COVID-19 vaccine to staff at Camp Lemonnier, in Djibouti, Aug. 13, 2021.

Top health leaders talk about the recent spike in COVID-19 infections and the impact on the military community.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Navy Hospital Corpsman steps into the breach in the war on COVID-19

Article Around MHS
1/18/2022
Hospitalman Hector Conde standing in front of a immunization office's refrigeration

First responders and those fighting on the medical battleground have earned well-deserved recognition for their efforts.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Critically ill COVID Patient Delivers Baby While on Heart-Lung Bypass

Article
1/11/2022
Retired U.S. Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. Carlos Hernandez and his wife, Ashley, take a family portrait with their six children. Ashley is BAMC’s first patient to give birth while on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

Hernandez, a Marine Corps spouse and mother of five, is BAMC’s first patient to give birth while on Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

This is my Why

Article Around MHS
12/30/2021
Air Force Senior Airman Marcus Bullock poses for a photo after receiving his COVID-19 vaccination

Air Force Senior Airman Marcus Bullock stated his reason for getting the vaccine was to help his mother and son be able to have a play date again.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

Development of WRAIR’s Pan-Coronavirus Vaccine Shows Promise

Article
12/28/2021
A vial of spike ferritin nanoparticle WRAIR's COVID-19 vaccine

Series of preclinical studies supports the Army’s pan-coronavirus vaccine development strategy

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Immunization Experts are Central to COVID-19 Vaccine Program

Article
12/20/2021
Medical director at Fort Riley, Kansas receives a COVID-19 vaccination In his left arm from a tech in personal protective equipment.

Immunization Health Division at forefront of COVID-19 vaccinations.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Military Health System Marks 1-Year Anniversary for COVID Vaccinations

Article
12/14/2021
FEmale Marine gets COVID 19 vaccination in left  arm at Camp LeJeune in December 2020

More than 6.4 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered a year after first shots within MHS.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine

So others may breathe - Navy Medicine Respiratory Therapist cares for COVID casualties

Article Around MHS
12/13/2021
Military Health personnel posing for a picture

Navy Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Tessa Hazard, a respiratory therapist, recently deployed to Alabama as a member of a COVID-19 response team.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus & the MHS Response

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 & the MHS Response

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 & the MHS Response

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 & Combat Support | Coronavirus & the MHS Response | 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 & the MHS Response | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

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.

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 & the MHS Response | 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 & the MHS Response
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 28
Refine your search
Last Updated: February 15, 2022

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.