By Mr. Russell Toof (Regional Health Command Europe)November 8, 2019
SEMBACH, Germany -- Virtual health helps healthcare providers connect to their patients when they are separated by distance. For providers within Regional Health Command Europe, this distance can be significant when caring for service members who are supporting operations around the globe.
Many of those service members do not have access to a military treatment facility. Instead, they often utilize local, host-nation doctors. However, with the use of virtual health for routine or wellness appointments, service members now have the option to see a military doctor in order to maintain medical readiness.
Enter Operation PHA Shock. It leveraged Virtual Medical Center-Europe's Virtually Integrated Patient Readiness and Remote Care Clinic to address overdue Periodic Health Assessments and other readiness requirements.
The VIPRR Clinic, located at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, uses virtual health to conduct PHAs for service members stationed in remote locations. The PHA is a preventive screening tool designed to improve reporting and visibility of Individual Medical Readiness.
The use of virtual health, when conducting a PHA, eliminates the need for service members to leave their duty station for multiple days for a 20 to 30 minute appointment.
From May to October of this year, the VIPRR Clinic completed 140 PHAs, as well as other readiness requirements, for Marines at 16 U.S. embassies stretching from Finland to Pakistan. The Marines were unable to complete medical readiness requirements due to non-availability of care at those embassies and host-nation facilities.
"Commanders of geographically remote active duty service members, including those stationed at embassies, historically have had challenges maintaining service members' medical readiness due to limited access to military healthcare resources," said Lt. Col. Robert Cornfeld, the medical director of Virtual Medical Center-Europe. "The VIPRR Clinic enables healthcare delivery to eliminate these medical readiness barriers. Virtual Medical Center-Europe has always supported our tri-service colleagues and this program has been a logical extension of this larger movement."
For more information on virtual health, please talk with your health care provider or visit the virtual health home page located at http://rhce.amedd.army.mil/landstuhl/.