Back to Top Skip to main content

Top five digital health trends for military medical providers in 2021

Image of Dr. Pincus with text "Top Five Digital Health Trends for Military Medical Providers in 2021" Dr. Simon Pincus, chief of the Defense Health Agency Connected Health Branch, makes five health trend predictions for 2021. (Photo by Savannah Blackstock.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | MHS GENESIS

Few years have ever tested the endurance, skill, and resolve of the Military Health System like 2020. For 10 seemingly endless months, the COVID-19 pandemic has besieged the United States and military providers continue to defend the medical front lines every day. The fight won’t end with the New Year. We must continue to do all we can to ensure the health and safety of our beneficiaries, providers, and frontline health care workers in 2021 and thereafter.

Looking back on all we as a community have been through and learned, I suggest MHS providers keep an eye on these five digital health trends in 2021:

1. The COVID-19 pandemic will accelerate the need for virtual health, especially for tele-critical care: The COVID-19 pandemic response catapulted virtual health to a prominent role in the delivery of health care to our beneficiaries in the Department of Defense and the U.S. health care system as a whole. Through enterprise-wide processes, technology, and training, the Defense Health Agency has supported a local, regional, and global multi-tiered virtual health response that continues to sustain care while keeping beneficiaries and health care teams safe.

The spike in COVID-19 cases this winter is anticipated to significantly increase requirements for intensive care. A significant subset of those patients lives in areas with limited critical care expertise and capacity. DHA is helping address this shortfall through the Joint Tele-Critical Care Network. The JTCCN leverages virtual health to extend critical-care resources and treatment at a distance, similar in concept to how air traffic control systems track and direct planes to ensure they — and their passengers — safely reach their destinations.

The JTCCN provided almost 1,200 days of coverage to more than 300 unique patients in 61 intensive care unit beds across 11 spoke sites from January 2020 to June 2020. DHA is also exploring a partnership with the Department of Veterans Affairs to establish a single federal tele-critical care network to provide care to any of the 1,700 VA or 400 DHA ICU beds.

2. Virtual health will catalyze conversations about the future of health care delivery: The many lessons learned from the COVID-19 response make it clear that virtual health will become an increasingly important and integral part of MHS care delivery for the foreseeable future. DHA is planning to ensure beneficiaries and care teams get the digital tools and support they need for high-quality care, anytime and anywhere.

Rapid adoption and acceptance of virtual health is already catalyzing significant, permanent change in culture and business processes throughout the MHS. The traditional paradigm has flipped — we have gone from unquestioningly assuming in-person care is the de facto standard to weighing many different options for safe, high-quality care. Should we work in the office or telework, synchronously or asynchronously? What patient care can be delivered virtually, which patients need to be seen in person, and how do we respond to patients’ new expectations?

3. The DHA transition and MHS GENESIS implementation will encourage standardization, optimization, and innovation: At the same time as COVID-19 and virtual health radically reshape the health care landscape, the MHS continues its own major transformation establishing a market-based structure for health care delivery and the continued support of medical readiness.

In this transition, DHA will combine all military medical treatment facilities and ensure they provide care in a unified, standardized way to all 9.6 million beneficiaries worldwide. This standardization of technology, processes, and workflows will improve health care access, delivery, outcomes, and patient experience of care. It will also help to reduce redundancies.

One way the MHS will provide that improved care is through DoD’s new electronic health record MHS GENESIS, which will continue its rollout through 2023. MHS GENESIS is not just an electronic health record — it’s a living, breathing system of care that translates evolving clinical needs into clinical workflows through health information technology.

As DOD and its partners advance each wave of deployment, health informatics experts at DHA leverage user feedback to improve the systems configuration at an enterprise level. These ongoing upgrades are designed to improve system usability for both patients and providers, as well as improve the continuity of care among facilities. Significant MHS GENESIS improvements include secure messaging between patients and their care teams and the ability of providers to dictate directly into the EHR.

4. Integration and interoperability will encourage new insights and partnerships: Patients, providers, and the MHS enterprise can truly benefit from the DHA transition and MHS GENESIS only if we ensure that the technology, strategy, policies, and guidance we put in place make it easy for them to connect with each other through digital and virtual means.

For that to happen, the technology needs to be interoperable. The MHS has a worldwide, highly mobile population that moves between legacy (such as AHLTA and Essentris®) and the new MHS GENESIS EHR. DHA has made progress toward an interoperability among MHS GENESIS, AHLTA, VA and health care networks through its Joint Longitudinal Viewer (formerly Joint Legacy Viewer) / joint Health Information Exchange. When fully deployed, MHS GENESIS will provide a single health record for all service members, eligible veterans, retirees, and their families.

Integration of technology is also essential. More integrated systems improve security and the ability to share information. Over time, integration of EHR and digital data from providers, patients, and remote health monitoring will create a well of data that—by applying artificial intelligence and predictive analytics—can help reduce redundancy and delay of care and improve outcomes. All these efforts are already in progress, it’s exciting.

We need to integrate all these efforts in rapid, agile ways, which requires coordination through partnerships. Multiple stakeholders across the MHS must work together to make that happen.

For the Connected Health Branch, coordinating across the MHS and its other partners is essential to help create a care system—both individuals and technology—that delivers integrated digital health that improves both health and military readiness.

5. Successful providers will keep patients at the center of care: We not only have to partner at the organizational level, we have to individually treat each patient as a partner as well. We have to understand where our patients are coming from, meet them where they are, and put them at the center of everything we do.

Having an open, flexible mindset on how to collaborate with patients, especially by leveraging digital means, to accomplish health care goals is important these days. Patients often do their own research into health care treatments and tools (and providers!) using technology.

As providers, we need to listen. If we’re not engaging patients as the savvy consumers they are, we’ve lost them at hello. That disconnect could determine whether the patient is able to effectively use safe, evidence-based digital health tools, or we learn about valuable new research and technology to help that patient and others.

This year has taught all MHS providers unforgettable lessons and will forever change how we view and accomplish our mission to ensure military readiness. Next year will push us to be more innovative than ever before. The new year also gives us the opportunity to partner with each other, our organizations, and our patients, so we can all expand lifesaving and health-improving capabilities for service members, their families, and the country.

You also may be interested in...

Tidewater set to become fifth Military Health System market

Article
4/19/2021
Military health personnel reading a medical machine

The Tidewater Military Health System market in southeast Virginia is scheduled to officially stand up April 19.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | MHS Transformation

Appenzeller emphasizes: Get COVID-19 vaccine, no matter where

Article
4/16/2021
Military personnel explaining forensic equipment

The DHA’s Combat Support assistant director had some direct and encouraging words about the military’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout to date.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

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

Article
4/15/2021
Infographic that says "202 tele-critical care successes will help 2021 COVID19 response"

Virtual health and particularly tele-critical care for critically ill patients assumed frontline roles in sustaining care while keeping beneficiaries and health care teams safe.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | MHS Transformation

Join Us!! Third COVID-19 Townhall Update with Major General George Appenzeller!

Article
4/13/2021
MHS and Military OneSource COVID-19 Townhall, with Major General (Dr.) George N. Appenzeller.  Wednesday, 14 April, 1 PM ET

Join us for the MHS' Third COVID-19 Townhall with Major General George Appenzeller

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

DOD surpasses 2 million COVID-19 vaccines worldwide

Article
4/9/2021
Military health personnel wearing a face mask and a face shield giving the COVID-19 vaccine

The DOD hit the 2 million mark for vaccinations worldwide just a month after the 1 million milestone.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Public health remains an integral part in the fight against COVID

Article
4/9/2021
Infographic featuring health personnel wearing face shields and mask with "National Public Health Week" across the top of the picture

The pandemic has highlighted a need to provide more advanced training on infection prevention and control.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | April Toolkit | Public Health | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

MHS GENESIS has successful launch at Naval Medical Center San Diego

Article
4/8/2021
Military personnel standing in front of Naval Medical Center cutting a red ribbon

The successful outcome was the result of a long-term strategy in the deployment process.

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

Children’s well-being contributes immeasurably to force readiness

Article
4/6/2021
Military personnel wearing face mask in the back of a truck

The Defense Health Agency joins in celebrating military children during Month of the Military Child, observed in April, and always.

Recommended Content:

Children's Health | April Toolkit | Month of the Military Child – Celebrating the Mighty | Coronavirus | Month of the Military Child | Month of the Military Child Image Library

MHS GENESIS Patient Portal expands new features

Article
4/5/2021
Military health personnel wearing a face mask looking at a computer screen

The MHS GENESIS patient portal is readying new features and expanding existing ones, including its online library, and has rolled out special COVID-19 capabilities.

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS | MHS GENESIS

Telemedicine advances put to the test during pandemic

Article
4/1/2021
Uniformed service member stands behind wall of computer screens

COVID-19 has led to the need for physical distancing and has overwhelmed the capacities of health systems, compelling many to adopt telehealth solutions.

Recommended Content:

Technology | Research and Innovation | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

DOD healthcare leaders give COVID-19 update, praise DHA personnel

Article
3/30/2021
Picture of Director Army Lt. Gen. (Dr. Ronald Place providing a COVID-19 update at  the Pentagon

Dr. Terry Adirim and Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place provide update on COVID-19 vaccination progress and offer thanks to MHS workers for their contributions.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Lovell FHCC staff steps up to create formidable COVID-19 team

Article
3/30/2021
Military health personnel preparing to administer the COVID-19 vaccine

The COVID-19 vaccination effort at the Capt. James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in North Chicago, Illinois, has brought out the best in staff.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Dover Air Force Base features ‘Park ‘N Pickup’ pharmacy

Article
3/26/2021
Picture of prescription sitting on a counter

Due to the increased need for patient safety, the 436th Medical Group pharmacy at Dover Air Force Base has implemented a Park ‘N Pickup process.

Recommended Content:

Patient Safety Awareness Week | COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | Patient Safety

DHA Form 207: COVID-19 Vaccine Screening and Immunization Document

Form/Template
3/25/2021

The purpose of this form is to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine can be administered to the patient.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

TAB A MEO COVID19 Medical Coding Policy

Policy

Memorandum for DHA Staff - Military Medical Treatment Facilities to Implement Updated DHA COVID-19 Medical Coding Policy

  • Identification #: N/A
  • Date: 3/25/2021
  • Type: Memorandums
  • Topics: Coronavirus
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 33

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.