SecArmy reviews new tools to improve behavioral health
February 6, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. (Feb. 6, 2013) -- Secretary of the Army John McHugh stepped into a high-tech world of psychology at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, today.
His introduction to the Defense Department's National Center for Telehealth and Technology, or T2, began with a description of the center's role in the integration of technology and psychology by executive director, Dr. Greg Gahm. They discussed the advances accomplished by the center's psychologists and technologists in mobile health products and services, telehealth research, and innovative technology applications since the center was established at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in 2008.
"I appreciate the work T2 has done. Their initiatives are great tools to complement the health and wellness of our technologically savvy Soldiers of today." McHugh said.
Dr. Robert Ciulla, Mobile Health program director, gave Secretary McHugh an overview of smart phone applications and websites for service members and their families. The overview included a demonstration of the T2 Mood Tracker app, the first one released in 2010. With nearly every Soldier now carrying a smart phone, the apps are a free and convenient way to get psychological help anonymously, wherever and whenever needed.
From individual mobile health tools to system-wide policy development, the Secretary was briefed on T2's role creating the strategic telehealth plan for the entire Military Health System by Dr. Jamie Adler, Telehealth program director. Examples of how telehealth technology could improve health care were demonstrated to the Secretary with prototype vehicles designed by T2 to bring services to remote locations through the use of video teleconferencing.
The Secretary toured the Relocatable Telehealth Vehicle, or RTeC, a 40-foot shipping container remodeled into offices, and the Mobile Telehealth Vehicle, or MTeV, an expandable truck, capable of operating on its own power, with individual offices that can connect providers and patients through a satellite internet connection.
"Access to behavior health care is a critical challenge we face. Leveraging this technology helps enhance our ability to bring care to our Soldiers." McHugh said.
The Secretary walked through the DOD's only behavioral usability lab and the mobile technology lab, a 50-foot expandable trailer with electronic simulation equipment. Dr. Don Workman, Emerging Technologies program director, briefed him on the partnership between the Technology Enhancement Center and the volunteers from the Army's I Corps, who help test and refine applications and products developed by T2.
Secretary McHugh had a personal briefing on the only website created for military children coping with the frequent relocations, transitions, and deployment of their parents. Dr. Kelly Blasko, the psychologist who led the development of MilitaryKidsConnect.org, demonstrated the newest features of the website focused on helping children understand the difficult topics of grief, loss and post-traumatic stress.