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...

The Delta Variant: Stop the Spread

Infographic
6/28/2021
Graphic describing the Delta variant. Includes three bullet points describing the variant and a link to www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine and includes the TRICARE logo on the bottom right.

The Delta variant is expanding, especially where vaccination rates are low. Visit www.tricare.mil/COVIDVaccine to learn more.

Recommended Content:

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

New COVID-19 Delta Variant: What You Need to Know to Stay Safe

Article
6/28/2021
Military personnel receiving the COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 Delta variant spreading rapidly; it’s time to get vaccinated

Recommended Content:

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

The Delta Variant: A New Reason to Get Vaccinated

Video
6/25/2021
COVID-19 infographic

Are you a service member age 18 to 30? Are you unvaccinated? You may be entitled to severe disease, hospitalization, and death. To avoid these options, get vaccinated today!

Recommended Content:

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

Got Your 6: June 26, 2021

Video
6/25/2021
Got Your 6 Infographic

‘Got Your 6’ is TRICARE’s COVID vaccine video series that delivers important information and updates, three times a month. It includes the latest information about DoD vaccine distribution, the TRICARE health benefit, and vaccine availability.

Recommended Content:

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

Army’s 773rd administers mobile COVID-19 testing during DEF21

Article
6/4/2021
Three military personnel, wearing masks and lab coats, pose for a picture in an Albanian lab.

Approximately 800 Army Reserve soldiers from the U.S. and Europe participated in DEFENDER-Europe 21.

Recommended Content:

Health Readiness | Coronavirus | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Readiness Capabilities

Mental Health Panel Discusses Impact of COVID-19

Article
6/3/2021
Military personnel wearing face mask speaking on a panel

Walter Reed Bethesda hosts mental health panel to discuss the impacts of COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | Psychological Fitness

Based on data, MHS experts encourage vaccines for adolescents

Article
6/1/2021
Sister and brother smiling at each other

With the Pfizer vaccine approved for youth ages 12 to 15, MHS adolescents are lining up to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Children's Health | Vaccine Eligibility

VAX Facts: Which Vaccine is Right for Me?

Video
5/28/2021
DHA Seal

Dr. LC Collins talks about the importance of getting the first vaccine available to you. Don't hold out for a certain brand; they're all safe and effective.

Recommended Content:

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

VAX Facts: Breastfeeding after the COVID-19 Vaccine

Video
5/28/2021
DHA Seal

Dr. LC Collins encourages people who are breastfeeding to get the vaccine. Since the vaccine doesn't contain live virus, you can't pass COVID to your baby.

Recommended Content:

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

What is an mRNA vaccine?

Video
5/28/2021
DHA Seal

Dr. LC Collins explains how mRNA vaccines work to protect you from COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

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

Are mRNA vaccines safe?

Video
5/28/2021
DHA Seal

Dr. LC Collins explains the years of research and ongoing monitoring to show how mRNA vaccines are safe and effective.

Recommended Content:

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

VAX Facts: Do I Need the Vaccine if I Had COVID?

Video
5/28/2021
DHA Seal

Dr. LC Collins talks about the importance of getting vaccinated even if you already had COVID. We're not sure how long natural immunity lasts, so getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself.

Recommended Content:

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

“Shots in arms” – OPT planned & coordinated to meet COVID-19 mission

Article
5/28/2021
Military personnel sitting around a table talking

The Department of Defense’s COVID-19 Operational Planning Team has been the quiet force behind the DOD’s vaccination effort since November.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus

COVID-19 Vaccination Card Second Shot

Infographic
5/27/2021
Graphic saying that keeping track of your vaccination card is important. Includes a helpful tips section, a link to www.tricare.mil/covidvaccine, and what to do when you didn’t get your vaccination card or don’t have a copy. The TRICARE logo is on the bottom right of the page.

Keep track of your vaccination card. Tips include keeping your card on you and taking a picture of it as a backup copy.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Costs and Documentation | Coronavirus

Adolescents ages 12 and older eligible for COVID-19 vaccinations

Article
5/27/2021
Son of military personnel receiving his COVID-19 vaccine

Pfizer vaccine now authorized for children 12 and older.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | Coronavirus and the COVID-19 Vaccine | Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 61 - 75 Page 5 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.