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Johns Hopkins, US Navy Collaborate on New Telemedicine Program

Johns Hopkins University's Applied Physics Laboratory has collaborated with Navy health officials in Pensacola to create a telemedicine program that enables corpsmen to treat personnel and get the training they need before deployment.

Source: ThinkStock

By Eric Wicklund

- The U.S. Navy is working with Johns Hopkins University to launch a telemedicine program at its Pensacola, Fla. base.

Through a pilot program called Connected Corpsmen in the Community (CCC), health engineers from JHU’s Applied Physics Laboratory are working with the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery to create a connected care platform at the Florida base that enables corpsmen to treat Navy personnel in any location. The platform will also be used to train corpsmen prior to deployment.

“The program is designed to provide our active-duty force with more healthcare choices for routine care while also providing our Navy hospital enlisted medical personnel, who save lives on the battlefield, with additional experience while assigned to shore-based facilities here at home,” Capt. Amy Branstetter, commanding officer of Naval Hospital Pensacola, said in a press release.

Some 63,000 personnel serve in the Navy Medicine bureau, providing healthcare support to members of the Navy and Marine Corps, their families and veterans at expeditionary medical facilities, treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.

As part of the new program, corpsmen are using virtual care platforms to treat stateside service members for minor injuries including sprains, strains, joint pain, upper respiratory infections, insect bites and suture removal. Through the telemedicine service, they’re linked to licensed Navy physicians who can monitor exams and assist with diagnoses.

Navy officials say the CCC program was tested at Pensacola’s Naval Air Technical Training Center before being launched at the hospital and has since been expended to two more sites.

The program is one of several being used by the nation’s Armed Forces to improve access to care for active and retired servicemembers and their families, both in the US and overseas.

Just two months ago, the Pentagon’s Military Health System began soliciting advice from the telehealth and telemedicine industry on how it might consolidate its vast collection of connected care programs, called the Virtual Health Program, onto one platform.

“Virtual health is a valuable component of the MHS in and around Military Treatment Facilities (MTFs), referred to as garrison, as well as when the military deploys to theater arenas across the globe,” the agency said in its Request For Information (RFI). “Expanding the use of VH improves patient access to care; improves efficiencies by minimizing treatment delays and expediting referral processes, particularly for psychological health and field care; facilitates continuity of care with patient-centered medical homes; minimizes the number of specialists required to be staffed at individual facilities to support primary care providers, reducing reliance on expensive brick-and-mortar facilities; and directly engages tech-savvy young adults who comprise the majority of our beneficiaries.”

Officials said many of their programs do well in serving specific regions, populations or health systems but aren’t integrating with other programs.

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