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

Military Health System experts discuss COVID-19 innovations

Four men wearing masks, holding COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chamber Raul Martinez, Robert Serrano, Tim Ahlstrom, and Kevin Waller, maintenance workers with Fort Bliss Directorate of Plans Training Mobilization and Security, volunteered to construct 40 COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chambers (CAMICs) for William Beaumont Army Medical Center, in the hopes that it will help save a patient who may have the novel coronavirus disease known as COVID-19. CAMICs have already been used in over 100 surgical procedures within the MHS. (Photo by Amabilia Payen, William Beaumont Army Medical Center)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus

Rapid innovation serves as a cornerstone of the Military Health System, allowing for advances that improve the health and safety of service members and beneficiaries, according to Dr. Paul Cordts, chief medical officer at the Defense Health Agency in Falls Church, Virginia. Cordts and three other medical experts discussed the medical innovations resulting from the COVID-19 national emergency at a health innovation virtual roundtable Monday, July 27.

Necessity is often the mother of invention, which was the case with development of the COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chamber, or CAMIC. 

“With reports of COVID-19 wreaking havoc in New York City in mid-March and the looming shortage of PPE and so many unknowns at that time, we were really looking for additional ways to protect health care workers, especially during surgical and clinical procedures,” said Army Maj. (Dr.) Steven Hong, assistant professor of surgery at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU) and chief of head and neck surgical oncology and reconstructive surgery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. 

Three surgeons in hospital room wearing masks
Lt. Col. Eric Weber (far right), chief medical officer, William Beaumont Army Medical Center, and his colleagues demonstrate how to effectively use the COVID-19 Airway Management Isolation Chamber (CAMIC), a device that serves as a barrier protecting healthcare workers from aerosolized droplets by capturing and removing viral particles emitted from the patient, May 19, at WBAMC’s surgical room. (Photo by Amabilia Payen, William Beaumont Army Medical Center)

After putting in a collective 2,000 hours, Hong and his colleagues at WRNMMC and other agencies within the Department of Defense developed a barrier device constructed by draping a large clear plastic bag over a box-like frame made from PVC piping. The CAMIC, when placed over the head, neck, and shoulders of the patient during surgery, protects staff from airborne particles. The invention received emergency-use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration in May and has already been used in over 100 medical procedures within the MHS. 

The current COVID-19 crisis also provided an opportunity for the MHS to leverage both new and existing digital technologies, said Dr. Simon Pincus, director, Connected Health Branch, Defense Health Agency in Tacoma, Washington. In response to the demand for information in a quickly changing clinical environment when treating viral diseases, researchers at the Connected Health Branch created the Antimicrobial Stewardship application to provide up-to-date guidelines for infectious diseases, including COVID-19. 

They also curated a resource toolkit to prevent burnout among health care staff as a result of compassion fatigue and secondary traumatic stress from caring for patients. The Provider Resilience mobile app addresses an issue often seen in war among health care providers, but is also now appearing in the war against COVID-19. 

“When you’re in combat, you’re not going home from the trauma that you see, you’re actually potentially at risk in being a victim of trauma,” Pincus said. “This is kind of similar to COVID-19 where the providers are on the front lines and the health care teams taking care of patients are also at risk with the same outcome … so one of the innovations we pivoted was a provider resilience suite of self-care.”

More than its innovations, however, the MHS itself is pioneering because of its uniqueness to any other system in the world, said Air Force Col. (Dr.) Todd Rasmussen, professor of surgery, associate dean of research, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland. 

“In broad strokes, because we are a global health system, we have providers and labs and beneficiaries around the world,” he said, noting the unique ability of the system to partner with civilian medicine and other elements of the government and private industry. 

A substantial research investment within the DoD to steward funds toward requirements also sets the MHS apart. “Medical appropriation that comes to the Department of Defense is applied to the health, readiness, recovery, and care of mostly the war fighters but [also] all of our beneficiaries,” he explained. “If we say the requirement of 2020 is COVID-19, the DoD is able to pretty naturally then shift the focus of that requirements-driven medical research into the pandemic and pandemic-related topics, just like it did in the early 2000s when the priorities, or the requirements, were for hemorrhage control and resuscitation, limb salvage and such,” he added.

During the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Joint Trauma System and its trauma registry allowed for the sharing of real-time data that led to innovations in blood transfusion and life-saving techniques. The trauma registry informed the build of the COVID-19 registry, providing real-time data to evaluate and adjust clinical practice, therapies, and other guidelines, explained Cordts.

“We went to the JTS because they had a registry that allowed us to gather real-world data; they have a global network of performance improvement and care improvement where we discuss … the care of—and how best to diagnose and treat—patients with COVID-19,” added Rasmussen. 

The implementation of the DoD’s new electronic health record MHS GENESIS has also helped clinicians adjust workflow and adapt in triaging in-person clinic visits with virtual visits during the pandemic, said Cordts. 

“We're taking a very careful look at virtual health, the safety and efficacy of virtual health, and trying to learn what we can about where virtual health appears to be most beneficial for our patients in terms of improving their access, but also on improving the quality and safety of the care they receive virtually,” Corts added.

You also may be interested in...

Army Medicine Europe Provides Additional COVID Vaccinations for Immune Compromised

Article Around MHS
9/13/2021
Franz Dietrich, a German local national assigned to Training Support Activity Europe, receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the 7th Army Training Command's (7ATC) Rose Barracks, Vilseck, Germany, May 4, 2021. The U.S. Army Health Clinics at Grafenwoehr and Vilseck conducted a "One Community" COVID-19 vaccine drive May 3-7 to provide thousands of appointments to the 7ATC community of Soldiers, spouses, Department of the Army civilians, veterans and local nationals employed by the U.S. Army. (U.S. Army photo by Markus Rauchenberger)

Army medical treatment facilities in Europe are now offering an additional dose of COVID vaccine for immune compromised beneficiaries.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

The COVID-19 Pandemic: How Health Care Workers are Coping

Article
9/13/2021
a nurse helping a COVID-19 patient

For health care providers, experiencing the pandemic inside a hospital has brought

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Military Health Podcasts

Increased COVID Restrictions on the Pentagon Reservation

Article
9/8/2021
Military personnel wearing a face mask

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases and positive test cases in the National Capital Region, the Pentagon Reservation will move to Health Protection Condition Bravo Plus (Bravo+)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

As Fitness Tests Resume, Troops Seek Post-COVID Exercise Routines

Article
8/31/2021
Military personnel physically training

Keeping fit during pandemic proves hard for some.

Recommended Content:

Total Body Preventive Health and Total Force Fitness | Total Force Fitness | Physical Fitness | Coronavirus

Digital health innovation emerges during COVID-19 pandemic

Article
8/31/2021
The Defense Health Agency’s Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic. (Graphic courtesy of DHA Connected Health)

The DHA's Connected Health Branch was there to support, advise, and deliver new health innovations throughout the pandemic.

Recommended Content:

Connected Health | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Booster Shots

Infographic
8/27/2021
If you have an immune system that is moderately to severely compromised, the CDC recommends you may receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). This would be at least 4 weeks after your second dose.

If you have an immune system that is moderately to severely compromised, the CDC recommends you may receive an additional dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine (Pfizer or Moderna). This would be at least 4 weeks after your second dose.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Vaccine Eligibility | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Secretary of Defense Mandates COVID-19 Vaccinations for Service Members

Article
8/26/2021
An Army medic administers the COVID-19 vaccine to another soldier.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III yesterday issued a memorandum directing mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations for service members.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

DOD Intends to Mandate Pfizer Vaccine, Pentagon Official Says

Article
8/25/2021
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby holds a press briefing, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.

Kirby said the health of DOD's military and civilian employees, families and communities is a top priority.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

CSM Gragg Vaccine Statement

Video
8/24/2021
CSM Gragg speaks about COVID-19

CSM Gragg shares his personal story dealing with COVID and the loss associated with it and urges all to take precautions.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Maintaining Mission Readiness During a Pandemic

Article
8/24/2021
Gen. Place presents at HIMSS in Las Vegas.

DHA Director Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place discussed the national security implications of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus | Deployment Health

Got Your 6: August 16, 2021

Video
8/16/2021
Got Your 6: August 16, 2021

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, on days that end in ‘6.’ It includes the latest information about DOD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability. Got a question about ‘Got Your 6’? Send an email to dha.ncr.comm.mbx.dha-internal-communications@mail.mil Find your local military provider at tricare.mil/MTF, or go to tricare.mil/vaccineappointments and schedule yours today!

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Lt. Gen. Place and Command Sgt. Maj. Gragg on Getting Vaccinated

Video
8/16/2021
DHA Logo with the text: Importance of Vaccinations Lt. Gen. Ronald J. Place & Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Gragg

DHA Director Lt. Gen. Ron Place and DHA Senior Enlisted Leader Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg talk about how getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is more important than ever.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Reform, COVID-19 Have Been Catalysts for Change in Military Medicine

Article
8/16/2021
Dr. Terry Adirim speaking to an audience at a conference

Healthcare is about taking care of people, so no amount of change or innovation is ever sufficient if modernization does not lead to helping patients, says acting ASDHA at HIMSS21 in Las Vegas.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Military Health System Transformation

Don't Hesitate: Vaccinate Today for School

Article
8/13/2021
A boy gets the COVID-19 vaccine

Back to School Means Vaccine Time

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Coronavirus | Immunization Healthcare | Vaccine-Preventable Diseases | Vaccine Recommendations | Children's Health | Immunizations | TRICARE Health Program

Services Will Make Call on Religious Exemptions to COVID-19 Vaccines

Article
8/13/2021
Two medical people prepare syringes with doses of the COVID-19 vaccine

"There is a religious exemption possibility for any mandatory vaccine, and there's a process that we go through to counsel the individual both from a medical and from a command perspective about using a religious exemption," Kirby said.

Recommended Content:

Public Health | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 31 - 45 Page 3 of 36

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.