Back to Top Skip to main content

Applying COVID-19 innovations to the future of MHS medicine

Virtual health visits are expanding in response to COVID-19. Virtual health visits are expanding in response to COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Research and Innovation

“I would do anything to help my patients” and “I look forward to business as usual after COVID-19” – declarations many Military Health System providers worldwide would wholeheartedly agree with during the coronavirus pandemic. We give our best every day to ensure infected and non-infected alike get the treatment they need.

As we envision health care in a post-pandemic world, we can’t ignore that COVID-19 has already irrevocably changed how we deliver care and will continue to do so. We must use the terrible clarity these unprecedented circumstances provide to honestly evaluate our tools and practices, and apply that wisdom to make real, lasting improvements to health care.

This mindset of embracing innovation for the sake of our patients is already a hallmark of MHS providers. We find creative, clinically sound ways to treat our patients no matter the obstacle.

We are also in a prime position to lead by example in keeping the best of what we’re learning during COVID-19. The MHS is one of the largest health care systems in the world and has the tools, experience, logistical capacity and operational flexibility to do what many other health systems cannot. Our experience with global, 24/7, life-and-death medical crises means we can lead in innovation when it’s most needed.

A MHS health care provider holds a virtual health visit with a patient.
A MHS health care provider holds a virtual health visit with a patient. 

Case in Point: Virtual Health

One way MHS providers can start adopting innovative practices right now during COVID-19 is through virtual health, also known as telehealth or telemedicine. The MHS offers ready-to-use virtual health capabilities that are effective, secure, accessible and compliant. In fact, the MHS Virtual Medical Center (VMC) has rapidly expanded scalable virtual health tools for military patients and medical personnel across the Services to ensure continuity of care during the COVID-19 pandemic.   

The VMC serves as a hub for virtual health, enabling medical personnel in the field to connect with patients. It provides operational experience in delivering care around the world, working across international time zones, specialties and military service branches to get the right treatment to the right patient at the right time. The VMC is uniquely prepared to help providers and patients understand and use virtual health.

Working with the VMC allows providers to hit the ground running with tested tools and easy access to subject matter experts and training. The VMC workflows also efficiently connect providers with patients. Once they use virtual health, many providers find that they can do many appointments through a virtual health platform, with greater convenience and satisfaction for both them and their patients.

Extensive Resources

The resources available right now for incorporating virtual health into your practice include:

  • The VMC: Any MHS provider or care team can request access to military virtual health platforms by accessing the VMC SharePoint site.
  • Telemedicine Privileging:It is permissible for most MHS providers (to include personal services contract providers) to virtually care for patients located in a different state during COVID-19. Virtual care can occur outside a military medical treatment facility (MTF), such as at a patient’s home. A unique advantage for military medical personnel is that you can both be credentialed at your local facility and have privileges at the VMC. This pairing enables you to virtually access patients and their electronic health records at any MTF worldwide, a huge force multiplier.
  • Your local MTF: Talk to your local MTF virtual health point of contact. If your MTF does not have one yet, the VMC can connect you to experts.
  • ADVISOR Help Line: The Advanced Virtual Support for Operational Forces system, or ADVISOR, provides on-demand telephone and secure video consultations with specialty providers during emergencies. Originally designed for field personnel, ADVISOR now enables any MTF to get 24/7 live help with COVID-19 cases. Operators route calls to on-call MHS providers with operational experience in:
  • Infectious disease (pediatric/adult)
  • Palliative care
  • Critical care (pediatric/adult)

Remembering for the Future

Virtual health is undeniably different from traditional practice and can take getting used to. The technological, logistical and even cultural hurdles we encounter in adopting it – or any new practice born of crisis – are worth overcoming to help ensure patients receive the care they need anytime, anywhere.

That is especially important to remember once things return to “the new normal.” One of the biggest mistakes we can make when a crisis abates is to forget why we needed to change in the first place, and to think that those changes applied just to that situation instead of informing our practice going forward.

Virtual health is going to be part of that future, to the point that in five years, we won’t be saying virtual health or telemedicine, just -- medicine.

We need to learn from our COVID-19 experience and change our tools, processes and workflows as needed so we are better prepared for all world-changing incidents, not just the next pandemic. If we do, we will show that when we say “we’ll do anything for our patients,” we really mean it.

You also may be interested in...

Camp Pendleton Marines and civilians donate blood to save others

Article
8/12/2020
Two people in masks giving blood

Marines line up to donate blood

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Army general donates COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma at Tripler

Article
8/11/2020
Man wearing mask in hospital chair giving blood

COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate against who it infects – even general officers are susceptible.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

DoD reiterates FDA warning on using some hand sanitizers

Article
8/11/2020
Three men in PPE examining bottles of hand sanitzer

Gel hand sanitizers are flammable and consumers must be aware of their surroundings when using them.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

COVID-19 patient treated at Evans

Article
8/10/2020
Woman in wheelchair wearing a mask, being wheeled out of hospital surrounded by crowd applauding

During her stay, [Joyce Woffenden ] was also the first patient to receive convalescent plasma at EACH.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

New Navy units join in the fight against COVID-19

Article
8/7/2020
Military nurse putting on PPE

This deployment marked the first use of the newly established Acute Care Team and Rapid Rural Response Team medical platforms.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Air Force updates medical courses with COVID-19 content, procedures

Article
8/7/2020
Two lab technicians wearing full PPE handling vials for testing

COVID-19 has pushed instructors and trainers to be more innovative.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness | Combat Support

BAMC nurses: “It’s us against COVID”

Article
8/6/2020
Group of nurses at a hospital

With safety on the line, mistakes aren’t an option when it comes to PPE.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Madigan collects CCP in fight against COVID-19

Article
8/6/2020
Four people in a hospital room wearing masks

Convalescent plasma has been used for nearly a century to transfer antibodies from a recovered person to help protect another from an infection.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

Force Health Protection Guidance (Supplement 12) -Department of Defense Guidance for Personnel Traveling During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 Pandemic

Publication
8/6/2020

This memorandum supplements requirements in references (a), (b), and (c) with respect to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), and replaces reference (d). It provides pre- and post­travel guidance for purposes of force health protection (FHP) of Service members, DoD family members, DoD civilian employees, and DoD contractor personnel.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

DHA to recognize COVID-19 front-line innovators and leaders

Article
8/5/2020
Hospital Corpsman administers a COVID-19 test to service member aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex.

Who are the COVID-19 change makers?

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Patient Safety | Patient Safety Champion Recognition Program

Indiana National Guard continues to train in the COVID-19 environment

Article
8/5/2020
Soldiers in the field, wearing masks and testing equipment

Training in a time of COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Health Readiness

MHS asks COVID-19 recovered to donate plasma for seriously ill

Article
8/4/2020
Woman wearing mask and PPE holding a bag of plasma

Plasma donations needed in the fight against COVID-19

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Convalescent Plasma Collection Program

MTFs plan and prepare to face any emergency or disaster

Article
8/4/2020
Hospital personnel surrounding a patient

Military hospitals make emergency plans and conduct practice drills long before a natural disaster strikes.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Emergency Preparedness and Response

Air Force mental health team provides for deployed troops

Article
8/4/2020
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Nathan Davis, conducts a weekly Disaster Mental Health battlefield circulation walk around Quarantine Town.

The Disaster Mental Health team helps combat the stressors of the novel coronavirus and improves the overall well-being of service members of Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar.

Recommended Content:

Mental Health Care | Mental Wellness | Coronavirus

DoD leadership updates Pentagon on COVID-19 testing capabilities

Article
8/3/2020
Image of Air Force Maj. Gen. (Dr.) Lee Payne speaking, with Pentagon sign behind him

How COVID-19 testing helps prevent spread of the virus

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 22

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.