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

Partnerships, COVID-19 are catalysts for enterprise virtual health

Image of Mr. Adler with text: "Partnerships, COVID-19 are catalysts for enterprise virtual health." Jamie Adler is the lead for the DHA’s Virtual Health Clinical Integration Office, part of the DHA Connected Health Branch, under DHA Medical Affairs. (Graphic courtesy of DHA Connected Health.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Connected Health | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

In the pre-COVID-19 world, nearly all health care was delivered in person within brick-and-mortar facilities. Telehealth, referred to in the Department of Defense as virtual health or VH, was a promise of the future—a capability whose time had not quite yet arrived. VH, in those pre-pandemic days, and years, was relegated to pilot demonstrations and to specific specialties such as behavioral health delivered in limited settings.

As with so many other things, the COVID-19 pandemic wiped away long-held health care delivery practices and assumptions. Questions stopped being about if or even when VH would “take off” and started to be about how to maximize VH’s scope and reach in as short of a timeframe as possible. Mirroring the rest of the health care field, DOD rapidly scaled up VH capabilities, guidance, training, procedures, and provider and beneficiary communication and education. Over a period of weeks, the result was a multi-fold increase in overall VH capacity that supported basic clinical services across the DOD enterprise.

From a VH perspective, the pre-COVID-19 world is likely gone. VH as a core health care capability is here to stay. The Military Health System’ path forward can build upon COVID-19 and pre-existing efforts to develop enterprise VH capabilities that connect service members and their families to optimal health care—wherever and whenever it is needed.

To achieve this goal, it is important to realize that VH is not a single technology or business platform, or even group of platforms. Rather, it is about people, processes, and technologies working together across the entire MHS to create health care access solutions on behalf of our 9.6 million beneficiaries around the world.

The MHS is leveraging the experiences and workflows developed rapidly in response to COVID-19 to catalyze transformational change in enterprise use of VH. Coordination among multiple key stakeholders is essential and already underway to develop sustainable solutions that meet real MHS-wide needs.

These stakeholders include:

  • The newly emerging Defense Health Agency markets—regional clusters of MHS military medical treatment facilities
  • An enterprise-wide Virtual Medical Center
  • A variety of DHA headquarters offices, including the DHA Connected Health Branch’s Virtual Health Clinical Integration Office
  • The TRICARE private sector care network
  • The military services and interagency partners such as the Department of Veterans Affairs

Many Systems into One

For years, service-based enterprise and regional health care leaders and military medical treatment facilities (MTFs) spearheaded individual initiatives that built useful VH capabilities in a number of locations across the MHS. This approach, however, resulted in fragmented availability of VH capabilities across the more than 700 MTFs constituting the MHS. In addition, the TRICARE private sector care network permitted VH care only under limited circumstances.

In the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress required the DOD to expand VH across a wide spectrum of services and specialties, and across all direct (MTF-based) care and private sector care networks. Furthermore, Congress required that this VH expansion occur within the context of a consolidation and unification of non-deployed health care under the DHA. Since then, the DHA, the services, and their stakeholders have been working to prioritize, fund, and deliver integrated enterprise VH capabilities to medical centers and clinics, patient locations in the community, and settings in the field.

These efforts have one goal: create an integrated, comprehensive, high-quality, and reliable VH capability that reaches from forward deployment to fixed medical facilities, community settings, and to DOD partners such as the VA. The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic, as profound as it has been, was to greatly accelerate a process of enterprise VH expansion that is already ongoing.

Success of this endeavor would provide field units, clinics, inpatient facilities, managed care network providers, and virtual providers with the flexibility to meet patient needs regardless of location, while leveraging enterprise-wide competency, technical, procedural, and quality standards. This capability will turn VH into a powerful force multiplier for the MHS, delivering great health outcomes, support for a ready medical force, and enhanced beneficiary satisfaction. By increasing provider and support staff reach, capability, and effectiveness, VH will also help with the DHA’s goal of a fulfilled staff.

Looking Ahead

The COVID-19 pandemic is still testing MHS’ ability to use existing tools, training, and procedures to mount an aggressively accelerated deployment of VH capabilities. As we envision post-pandemic growth of virtual health, the MHS will need to continue to expand VH capabilities across its enterprise, while planning for the comprehensive and integrated tools and approaches that will make such growth sustainable in the long term.

Fielding any technology-based capability—including virtual health—takes a lot of pre-planning, collaboration, and effort. The development, acquisition, and sustainment of VH platforms across the MHS enterprise is an especially complex undertaking.

The MHS has many requirements beyond those followed by the non-DoD health care industry. In addition to providing safe, convenient, quality services, MHS VH must support military readiness and deployed health care, while operating within an environment of enhanced government regulation and heightened security. Meeting these requirements necessitates planning for all appropriate contingencies, including natural and man-made disasters and global emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

The results of these efforts, on the part of the MHS and its partners will be a virtual health capability that provides universal and global access to high-quality care and consultation to all beneficiaries, regardless of location or circumstance. This future state will be worth the effort for providers, and most importantly for patients, during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

You also may be interested in...

MHS Town Hall, May 12, 2021

Video
5/12/2021
MHS and Military OneSource COVID-19 Townhall, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Wednesday 12 May

Tune in for another MHS and Military OneSource Town Hall with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research

Recommended Content:

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

Join Us!! Sixth Live COVID-19 Town Hall

Article
5/12/2021
Image describing today's Town Hall with Dr. Paul Scott and COL Clinton K. Murray, MD.  They are with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and will discuss COVID-19 Vaccine Advancement and Trials.

Join us for today's Town Hall with Dr. Paul Scott and COL Clinton K. Murray, MD. They are with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, and will discuss COVID-19 Vaccine Advancement and Trials.

Recommended Content:

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

MHS Celebrates National Hospital Week

Video
5/12/2021
Image for National Hospital Week with text, "A Week in the Life."

During National Hospital Week, we highlight all of the training efforts and safety protocols the Military Health System has put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | May Toolkit | May Military and Health Observances

Is It Allergies or COVID-19?

Infographic
5/11/2021
Infographic that describes the difference between symptoms of allergies and those related to COVID-19

This Infographic provides a chart that outlines how to tell the difference between COVID-19 and allergy symptoms

Recommended Content:

Symptoms of COVID-19 | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

DHA-PI 6205.01: Medical Logistics Guidance for the DoD Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program

Policy

This Defense Health Agency-Procedural Instruction (DHA-PI), based on the authority of References (a) and (b), and in accordance with the guidance of References (c) through (n), establishes the Defense Health Agency's (DHA's) procedures for ordering, receiving, and managing COVID-19 Vaccines inventory and ancillary kits.

Navy nurse steps into Jacksonville community for COVID-19 vaccinations

Article
5/7/2021
Military health personnel wearing face mask discussing the COVID-19 vaccine program

Navy Cmdr. Glenn “Pete” Bradford is aiding the underserved Jacksonville community in COVID-19 vaccination mission

Recommended Content:

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

Line Leader Presentation (PDF)

Publication
5/7/2021

This document is identical to the PowerPoint presentation for line leader reference and use.

Recommended Content:

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

Line Leader Presentation PPT

Publication
5/7/2021

Leaders across the Department can leverage this briefing deck to discuss COVID-19 vaccines with their troops. Don't forget to reference speaker notes and to personalize the title slide!

Recommended Content:

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

Presentation Companion

Publication
5/7/2021

Leaders and public affairs officers may reference this document. It can be shared with commands to support briefings, or distributed independently to share facts about COVID-19 vaccines.

Recommended Content:

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

Reasons to Choose a COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet

Publication
5/7/2021

Leaders and public affairs officers can share this information across channels to continue the vaccine confidence conversation.

Recommended Content:

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

DHA, HA leaders discuss MHS Transformation at AHA panel

Article
5/6/2021
Military personnel talking at a podium

Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place and Dr. Terry Adirim discussed MHS Transformation, MHS GENESIS, and highlighted the DHA’s response to COVID-19 in a virtual roundtable hosted April 12 by the American Hospital Association.

Recommended Content:

MHS GENESIS | MHS Transformation | Genesis of MHS GENESIS | Coronavirus

EACH celebrates National Nurses Week with a reflection on the pandemic

Article
5/6/2021
Military health personnel inputting information into a computer

Evans Army Community Hospital celebrates National Nurses Week 2021.

Recommended Content:

National Nurses Week | Nurses Week | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit

Nurse and Tech Week: Air Force airmen are battle-tested and ready

Article
5/6/2021
12 COVID-19 patients aboard a C-17 Globemaster III aircraft

For the past year, Air Force nurses and medical technicians have found themselves on the front lines in the battle against the COVID-19 disease.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | National Nurses Week | Technology | Nurses Week | May Toolkit | Coronavirus

Vaccines Save Lives

Infographic
5/6/2021
Polio and smallpox are almost non-existent because of vaccines. We can eliminate COVID-19 if you get vaccinated. Graphic showing that vaccines work and save lives. Includes a black and white image on the top half listing polio and smallpox on the left hand side. Includes a QR code to schedule vaccination appointments, and the TRICARE logo on the bottom right of the page.

Infographic showing that vaccines work and save lives. Includes a black and white image on the top half listing polio and smallpox on the left hand side. Includes a QR code to schedule vaccination appointments, and the TRICARE logo on the bottom right of the page.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get the COVID-19 Vaccine

Got Your 6 - May 6, 2021

Video
5/6/2021
Video screen image for the May 6, 2021 Got Your Six video

"Got Your 6" is TRICARE's COVID-19 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 for a DoD-affiliated, and TRICARE beneficiary audience.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 37

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.