Skip to main content

Military Health System

MHS Video Connect Offers Convenience, Efficiencies for Providers

Image of . Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Ryan Brennan, chief of neurological surgery, and deputy chief of the Department of Virtual Health at Madigan Army Medical Center.

Recommended Content:

Health Care Technology | Health Care Technology | MHS Video Connect | Information for Providers | Health Care Administration & Operations | Military Hospitals and Clinics

The following article is a first-person account by Army Lt. Col. (Dr.) Ryan Brennan, chief of neurological surgery and deputy chief of the Department of Virtual Health at Madigan Army Medical Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington.

Virtual health is not only well-established within the medical community, but it will also continue to expand and improve how providers deliver quality care.

As a neurosurgeon with the Military Health System, my goal is to provide our beneficiaries with the best possible care.

So – in this era of a global pandemic, how do we leverage technology to continue providing that world-class care and maintain medical readiness?

For the MHS, we integrate virtual health systems – specifically the new telehealth platform – MHS Video Connect. Although new to the MHS, this platform isn't new – a similar program is also used within the VA.

This platform enables patients and providers from all specialties to reach one another regardless of location.

An example of our impact and success in virtual health is the Alaska care initiatives that are saving up to tens of thousands of dollars per patient in temporary duty travel costs, lost time at work, and ultimately lost mission days.

With MHS Video Connect, I am able to complete a patient encounter in the morning and virtually screen the patient for surgical needs. The patient is then able to return to his or her duties or training immediately. In some cases, there is no longer a need for a face-to-face encounter that results in time away from their jobs, travel expenses, and potential safety risks. Eliminating these factors directly serves the MHS mission and helps to maintain a medically ready force./p>

During this pandemic, our neurosurgery team increased our service productivity by 119% from March 2020 through June 2020 when we transitioned to virtual health (both over video and telephone) to facilitate patient visits.

This switch also led to a decrease in patient referral processing times and an increase in patient satisfaction. Furthermore, we ensured that patients with truly critical needs did not see delays in care or diagnosis due to long waits imposed by face-to-face visit limits from COVID-19 restrictions. By having access to MHS providers, our beneficiaries can receive the world-class care they deserve.

Our productivity increased by 119% when we transitioned to virtual health.
"Our productivity increased by 119% when we transitioned to virtual health." (Photo by Connected Health) 

Secure and Convenient

So – why the move to MHS Video Connect?

Early in the pandemic, health care systems across the world struggled to balance providing care with having face-to-face patient engagements.

Within the MHS, virtual health options authorized and employed early in the pandemic had technical limitations, including unnecessary security risks, and incompatible with patients' web browsers or devices.

MHS Video Connect eliminates these issues, and facilitates a much more streamlined process.

Through a few simple clicks, the provider and patient 'enter' their own secure, private virtual treatment room. MHS Video Connect provides real-time access to care, from almost anywhere with internet access, and it works with existing MHS medical processes and electronic health records.

Virtual health also offers providers more control in their day-to-day lives — and that is always something we like. As a provider, I can now determine when I want to see someone virtually. For example, I can see patients without the challenges of clinic delays due to traffic or limitations in our physical space. It has also offered me the opportunity to see, and treat patients on a schedule that is convenient for me.

One of the biggest advantages to providers is that virtual health remains a moldable medium. It can be adapted to fit your practice and convenience needs in nearly endless ways.

Patients have shared with me that they love the simple and easy access to their doctors without the potential hassle of taking time off work, scheduling child care, traveling to the clinic and then sitting in waiting rooms.

MHS Video Connect is easy, intuitive, and does not take much to learn. Once you are on it, you may find that it is something you enjoy doing.

Saving Money, Resources, and Lives

MHS Video Connect's advantages extend beyond improved readiness, access, and convenience. Using the system also yields huge cost savings and increased efficiency in the use and expenditure of finite resources.

For our patients in Alaska, the cost of temporary duty travel to our medical center can be costly and often runs between $25,000 and $50,000. Every virtual visit that determines that a patient does not need to travel may save up to $1,500 a day, per visit.

Virtual health may also have significant, but less easily quantified, value through a reduction in productivity loss, reduced number of duty days lost to travel to appointments, and provides an overall improvement in mission readiness. Taken together, these factors directly serve the MHS mission of creating a medically ready force.

Using MHS Video Connect may also alleviate some of the resource constraints that we have in clinic. When we are limited in both physical space and personal protective equipment, the platform allows us to facilitate greater numbers of patient visits in a single day. While I am doing a virtual visit, my colleagues can see patients physically in clinic, which can immediately double the number of patients our clinic can treat in a day.

By increasing the number of visits available in a day, we are also able to radically reduce the overall time it takes patients to access care. This increase in access is critically important during these challenging times.

Additionally, managing the number of beneficiaries physically entering the clinic is essential to keeping providers, care teams, and patients safe. Increasing virtual appointments helps to reduce foot traffic and reduces unnecessary exposure to COVID-19 and other pathogens.

Investment in the Future

One of the things that became clear from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic was that virtual health is rapidly becoming an integral part of maintaining a functioning medical service. Given its popularity with providers and patients alike, virtual health is something that is here to stay.

Providers should be open-minded and embrace virtual health — and MHS Video Connect in particular — because it is such a great avenue for facilitating patient care. With anything new, of course, there may be growing pains and a learning process. But my experience with virtual health and MHS Video Connect is that they have made things easier for me and my staff. I think most providers will find that once they begin the process of using virtual health, both they and their patients will appreciate the investment going forward.

You also may be interested in...

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:

Health Care Technology

BAMC Earns Re-Verification as Level I Trauma Center

Article
1/28/2022
Trauma personnel receive an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation or ECMO patient into the Emergency Department at Brooke Army Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, Jan. 24, 2022. BAMC has been re-verified as a Level I Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons for its dedication to providing optimal care for injured patients.

Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston in Texas has been re-verified as a Level I Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons.

Recommended Content:

Direct Reporting Markets | Military Hospitals and Clinics | Ready Reliable Care

Contract Awarded for Largest Overseas U.S. Military Hospital

Article
1/21/2022
Rendering of the Rhine Ordnance Barracks Medical Center Replacement (ROBMCR) project.

The contract to build the largest U.S. hospital outside the United States has been signed, marking a significant step forward in progressing the Rhine Ordnance Barracks Medical Center Replacement (ROBMCR) project.

Recommended Content:

Military Hospitals and Clinics | Defense Health Agency Region Europe

'Open Notes' Approach Builds Stronger Provider-Patient Relationships

Article
1/4/2022
Open notes offer many evidence-based advantages through mutual communication, understanding, and collaboration.

'Open notes' enable two-way communication and feedback that encourages providers and patients to feel that they are not just on the same page, but in the same boat on a shared journey.

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS: The Electronic Health Record | Health Care Administration & Operations | Information for Providers | MHS GENESIS

Connected Health Hosts DHA Digital Health Virtual Summit

Article
11/22/2021
MHS providers discuss the new MHS Video Connect at the second Digital Health Virtual Summit

The second Digital Health Virtual Summit occurred on Nov. 9 to educate attendees about the Defense Health Agency’s new standard telehealth solution: MHS Video Connect.

Recommended Content:

MHS Video Connect | Health Care Administration & Operations

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:

Health Care Technology | Research & 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:

Health Care 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:

Our History | Health Care 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:

Health Care Technology | Health Care Administration & Operations | 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:

Health Care 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 & Innovation | Health Care Technology | MHS Remembers 9/11 | Education & Training | Medical Education and Training Campus

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:

Health Care Technology | Coronavirus & the MHS Response

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:

Health Care Technology | MHS GENESIS: The Electronic Health Record

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 & Innovation | Health Care Technology | Readiness Capabilities | Ready Reliable Care | Defense Health Information Technology Symposium | MHS GENESIS

DOD's Whole of Government Approach to COVID is Working, Says Adirim

Article
8/13/2021
Dr. Terry Adirim, acting assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, right, speaks during a panel discussion.

Dr. Terry Adirim, said she has been impressed by the DOD’s COVID-19 response since taking over as ASDHA, and that adaptation and innovation have played key parts in that response.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Health Care Technology | Telehealth Program | Military Health System Transformation
<< < 1 2 3 4 > >> 
Showing results 16 - 30 Page 2 of 4
Refine your search
Last Updated: January 31, 2023
Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on YouTube Sign up on GovDelivery