Let’s Improve Health Care for Service Members and Veterans

A Recap of the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium (DHITS)

Our nation’s service members and veterans are as brave as they come. Risking their lives for the sake of the country, they understand the true meaning of sacrifice and live out the definition of courage every day. So when it comes to healthcare, these men and women deserve the best we have to offer.

Telehealth can deliver tremendous benefits to military patients, helping them stay closer to the homes they serve, while connecting them with top-notch medical care. At the recent Defense Health Information Technology Symposium, our team spoke with some of the leaders in the industry around virtual health care, medication adherence, current industry models, and more.

Beverly Beavers, CIO of the Office of the Surgeon General, spoke about the role of virtual health care and the growth its seen in recent years. Just look at the U.S. Army’s Warrior Transition Command, she noted. With patients from Washington state to Alaska, the Command is connecting rehabilitation centers and care teams across geographic boundaries to improve the quality of care, deliver a convenient patient experience, and help them stay close to home. This is a great example of an organization leading the way around virtual care to drive better patient outcomes.

Medication adherence was a hot topic during the show and the subject of many conversations. As service members return home, care teams want to monitor not only their vital signs and well-being, but also their medication dosages. One way to do this is through secure patient portals, found a recent study published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. As Sarah Heath reports, researchers found that more frequent communication between providers and patients meant that providers could “adjust medications, remind patients to adhere to treatment plans, answer questions, and coordinate care between patients and other providers.”

We also participated in many conversations around the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) model, an initiative led by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to deliver high-quality, accessible primary care to Americans. Technologies like electronic health records, patient portals, and telehealth applications can be huge enablers of this model, opening the door for virtual care and communication between patients and their providers. We’re excited to see how organizations are implementing this model and look forward to the many other conversations to come.

Overall, we had a great week at DHITS. The federal government is heavily investing in health IT, with IT services for federal health agencies up 27% annually. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) alone awarded $13 billion in contracts between 2011 and 2015. We are just scratching the surface of telehealth’s capabilities, and we’re excited to be part of the journey and see where it leads!

To learn more about where to find ViiMed, check out the events page of our website here: http://www.viimed.com/events/.