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

Revamped Virtual Med Center Makes Health Care Feel Like a Video Game

Image of Picture of the Virtual Medical Center. Click to open a larger version of the image. The relaunched Virtual Medical Center leverages emerging technologies such as virtual reality to increase and improve accessibility, convenience, and efficiency of medical care for all registered users (Photo by: Photo Dept. of Veterans Affairs Virtual Medical Center)

Recommended Content:

Technology | Research and Innovation

Years ago, going to a medical appointment required driving across town to see a doctor or other provider in person.

But these days, military veterans and active-duty service members can go online, choose a customized avatar, and virtually visit a doctor, meet with therapists, or consult about their care from a variety of locations beyond the clinic.

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ Virtual Medical Center offers patients a video game-style experience. It features a virtual “Heroes Beach” where patients can “sit” around a bonfire in front of a panoramic view of the sea at sunset, sharing stories with others in a warm and inviting setting.

The VMC is currently available to both veterans and service members and their families.

Initially launched in 2015, the VMC platform provides patients, providers, and staff a virtual, interactive clinical setting where they can access information on specific topics in 2D as well as the option to virtually interact with other users individually or in group settings in 3D. An updated web version of the VMC is being launched at the end of the summer, which will allow users the full 3D experience without having to download anything onto their computers.

The expanded version comes at a time of increased demand for telehealth and other remote services. It includes new resources and innovative options that leverage current technologies like virtual reality to improve accessibility, provide convenience, and expand efficiency of medical care to all registered users. It also includes the new Performance Health and Wellness Center, a new clinic within the VMC that will offer synchronous and asynchronous educational programs for veterans and active-duty service members on cardiovascular disease risk factors. 

“It is very exciting to be able to build upon existing resources to bridge prevention efforts across the Department of Defense and the VA,” said Patty Deuster, executive director of the Consortium for Health and Military Performance (CHAMP) at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Science in Bethesda, Maryland.

In the 3D mode, users can interact in and explore the VMC in the form of an avatar they select and customize to their choosing. Then, they can navigate through the different environments by teleporting their avatar as though they were in a video game. They can share their experience with colleagues, providers, friends, or family in their contact lists.

Registered users can access a series of clinics focusing on general health topics, specific medical conditions, disease management, or well-being. It also offers one-on-one consultations with providers or private group meetings, as well as more relaxing spaces for reflection, therapy, or conversation.

For example, in addition to primary care, mental and behavioral health, pain management, post-deployment, and palliative care clinics, there are group therapy and counseling rooms, reflection rooms, and a chapel where patient avatars can meet with therapists, counselors, and chaplains.

In between sessions, they can congregate at the "Warriors’ Café," in the VMC lobby, to mingle with others over coffee or teleport to the “Cybrary,” — a cyber library and research hub filled with educational material on medical questions, diseases, illnesses, etc. These include interactive media content like streaming videos, documents, and websites available at the easy click of a button.

The Virtual Educations Training Assistant, known as VETA, is also available to answer questions on medications, symptoms, and disease management as well as to provide links to informational media catalogued in the VA system.

“The wellness center will simplify information for the military population and ensure access to trustworthy, military-relevant health education resources accessible from anywhere, 24 hours each day, and seven days each week,” said Don Shell, acting director of health services policy and oversight, and director of disease, disease prevention, disease management, and population health policy and oversight.

Regardless of which mode users select, they will have access to many features including public, group, and private text chat and Voice Over IP channels through which to collaborate and communicate. Topic-based lobbies and lounges allow patients to meet with others to discuss health topics and mutual interests.

From amphitheaters to private offices to high-tech conference rooms to the virtual beach, the VMC has event venues to suit nearly everyone’s needs.

You also may be interested in...

How MHS Video Connect Improves Mission Effectiveness and Care Quality

Article
5/18/2022
Army Lt. Col (Dr.) Robert Cornfeld explains how MHS Video Connect's convenient, secure, and easy-to-use virtual video visit capability helps providers keep patients on mission and improves engagement with them, directly leading to better health outcomes.

Open to all active duty service members, retirees, and their families enrolled in a military hospital or clinic, MHS Video Connect empowers patients to meet with their military health provider virtually through live video on any internet-connected computer, tablet, or mobile device.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Connected Health | MHS Video Connect | Information for Providers | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Military Health System Research Program Seeks Funding Applications for FY2023

Article
4/7/2022
The Military Health System Research Program provides funding for projects that aim to improve care in military medical facilities like the Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, pictured here. (Photo: Senior Airman Melody Bordeaux, U.S. Air Force)

The funding prioritizes research projects that focus on the delivery of military health care and system-level innovations that impact cost and outcomes.

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Research Branch | Research and Innovation

New App Addresses Service Women's Health Care Needs

Article
4/1/2022
Deployment Readiness Education for Servicewomen, one-stop resource for some of the most common questions and concerns that servicewomen have around deployment. (Photo: Connected Health)

The Defense Health Agency announces the release of Deployment Readiness Education for Servicewomen, the agency’s newest progressive web application.

Recommended Content:

Women's Health | Technology

Top Military Health Care Leader Looks to the Future of Medicine

Article
3/23/2022
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Kathryn Lipscomb, the urology department head at U.S. Naval Hospital Rota in Spain, waves to staff in USNH Naples, Italy during the first virtual cystoscopy between both hospitals in Jan 2021. (Photo: Navy Cmdr. Ryan Nations)

Health care has come a long way in recent years, thanks to technology, innovation and unexpected challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic. The explosion of capabilities includes robots in the operating room, the expansion of virtual health care and virtual encounters, remote patient monitoring and artificial intelligence.

Recommended Content:

Technology

MHS Video Connect Offers Convenience, Efficiencies for Providers

Article
2/16/2022
Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Ryan Brennan

MHS Video Connect provides a safe and effective platform to virtually engage with patient “face-to-face”.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Connected Health | MHS Video Connect | Information for Providers | Access, Cost, Quality, and Safety | Military Hospitals and Clinics

Researchers Connect with Warfighters to Guide Tech Development

Article
1/25/2022
Military personnel trying an immersive training device

Researchers ‘get out of the clinic’ to learn warfighter challenges

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision and Hearing Loss Prevention | Vision Center of Excellence

2022 MHS Research Symposium Opens for 'Abstracts'

Article
1/6/2022
Poster of the MHSRS 2022

Abstracts for this year's Military Health System Research Symposium, with the theme "Optimizing Readiness – The Power of Military Medical Research," are due by Feb. 16.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Medical Research and Development | MHS Research Symposium

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 | Defense Health Information Technology Symposium

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

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, Cost, Quality, and Safety | MHS Video Connect | Military Hospitals and Clinics

DHA’s Mobile Apps Can Help You with Overall Wellness

Article
9/30/2021
A smartphone user using the DHA's Air Force MissionFit app

Healthcare and wellness apps developed by the DHA are proliferating.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Total Force Fitness

Since 9/11, These 8 Military Medical Advancements are Saving Lives

Article
9/14/2021
Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Derek Weida jokes with a physician during his prosthetic leg fitting at a prosthetics clinic in Las Vegas in April 2018.

Years of military conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan brought innovations that completely transformed the Military Health System's approach to combat casualty care. Here's a list of just a few ways military medicine has evolved in the two decades since the 9/11 attacks.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Technology | MHS Remembers 9/11

Federal leaders highlight electronic health record changes at HIMSS

Article
8/31/2021
Federal leaders being interviewed

The new Federal electronic health record delivers data to healthcare teams wherever a patient receives treatment.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS

Ready Reliable Care Framework is Improving MHS Patient Care

Article
8/18/2021
Ready Reliable Care is the Military Health System's framework for ensuring high-quality health care across the force.

The Military Health System's Ready Reliable Care framework helps ensure high-quality health care for all service members, veterans and their families.

Recommended Content:

Research and Innovation | Technology | Readiness Capabilities | Ready Reliable Care | Defense Health Information Technology Symposium | MHS GENESIS
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 4

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.