LANDSTUHL, Germany - For the first time in Army Medicine, nurses and medics from all military services, the Civilian Corps, and the Department of State conducted virtual health training together.

The three-day event, hosted by the Regional Health Command Europe Virtual Health team and Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, connected nurses and medics from locations around Europe and the Middle East with telehealth experts and specialists. The event provided them an opportunity to earn continuing education credits while learning the basics about supporting virtual health in the clinical setting.

During the training, participants were provided an overview of the basics of presenting patients in real-time to remotely-located specialists. They were shown how to use the virtual health cart system and peripheral medical devices, learned about the importance of a good "webside manner;" and received training on specific examination skills for multiple Landstuhl-based specialties.

Virtual health currently supports over 30 specialties at LRMC to connect to service members and beneficiaries within the comfort of their own clinic, thus reducing time and money associated with travel if that same individual had to be seen in person at LRMC.

"The individuals who attended this training will be able to return to their location with a clear understanding of how to make virtual health a great choice for patients," said Mr. Ronald Keen the RHCE Virtual Health Chief.

Virtual Health has become an increasingly popular option for patients. Over the past four years, specialists at LRMC have conducted over 12,000 "real-time" video visits with patients and have a reported 98 percent patient satisfaction.

"The reason we have continued to grow year-to-year and offer a great patient experience is the trained patient presenter," said Col. Kirk Waibel, Virtual Health Medical Director and staff allergist at LRMC.

This three-day course emphasized that the patient presenter isn't just there to turn on the monitor.

Lt. j.g. Jacqueline Canfield, a registered nurse from Naval Hospital Sigonella said, "it provided me the basic tools to efficiently use Virtual Health in the clinic setting. Training was provided in performing orthopedic, dermatology, ophthalmology, and ear, nose, and throat assessments. This course was immensely helpful in providing network opportunities, written resources, and the basics of virtual health etiquette."

The trained patient presenter allows the patient to feel like they are right there in the same room with the healthcare provider resulting in a very satisfied medical visit for both the patient and the healthcare professional.

"The telehealth presenter is truly an ambassador for their local providers and patients. Patients often don't realize how easy and satisfying these virtual visits can be," said Col Waibel.

The training also provided an opportunities for participants to learn about "telehealth-in-a-bag" or THIAB -- a laptop-size version of the telehealth cart. THIAB extends further into the battlespace and helps to provide medical support to units participating in the enhanced forward presence and Regionally Allocated Forces' missions in Eastern Europe.

"When we have individuals like those who attended this course who are familiar with the technology and recognize how we can leverage it to provide safe and effective healthcare to individuals who otherwise don't have quick access to specialties, we immediately see the readiness benefit," Keen said. "These benefits include money and time not being spent having to drive or fly to see that specialist while preserving patient satisfaction and the doctor-patient relationship," said Keen.

For more information on Virtual Health, visit the RHCE website