By Andrew BrownJune 21, 2018
MCDONALD ARMY HEALTH CENTER, FORT EUSTIS, Va. -- TeleHealth (TH) revolves around the core concept of connecting people with health care providers to enhance readiness, access to care, patient safety, quality, and the overall patient experience.
Due to the immense benefits of TH, the McDonald Army Health Center (MCAHC) Pediatric Clinic developed a pilot program that tests the concepts of virtual healthcare with beneficiaries that generally would require face to face encounters with their child's provider; now they are afforded both with this new pilot program.
"TeleHealth is a way to leverage technology such as computers and or video teleconference equipment to connect with your child's provider from your primary care facility. Using these services can save time and money by allowing your child's visit to be in the comfort of their home eliminating excess travel as well. TeleHealth allows us to utilize expertise from all over the Army to provide the exceptional care our beneficiaries come to rely on from McDonald Army Health Center" says Dr. Ronald Mack, Chief of Pediatrics at MCAHC.
The pilot currently consists of two types of enrollment, Pediatric and Pediatric Behavioral Health. The first step in taking advantage of this pilot program is to request a TH appointment through your Primary Care Manager (PCM). "A beneficiaries PCM can provide them with the enrollment paperwork; their medical team will have the information on the inclusion and exclusion criteria as well as how to make an appointment." Says Ms. Jacquelyn Brown, TeleHealth Coordinator.
Of course, this innovative pilot program, like all others, is not without growing pains, but the future is bright for TeleHealth at McDonald.
"The main obstacle is with working out the process. We started with an idea of what it would take to make the program successful. That goal is the same, but the details on how that looks have changed. We have streamlined the process to make it easier on the parent for enrollment, as well as on the staff" says Brown.
The data collected from this pilot program will eventually help spread the capability of TeleHealth throughout the health center giving all beneficiaries the opportunity and convenience of video visits with their provider on smartphones, tablets, and home computers. Signs and symptoms will be checked in the convenience of patient's homes, which will create a significant time and cost savings as well improve the overall patient experience.
Ms. Brown says "We see the program growing by leaps and bounds here at McDonald and within the Military Health System in Hampton Roads, this is the future of military medicine".
Beneficiaries who are interested in the pilot program at McDonald can contact the Pediatric Clinic at (757) 314-7500 x42172 or (757) 314-7500 x42098 to have your healthcare team assist them with the enrollment process.