Army Expanding Virtual Health

The Madigan Army Medical Center https://www.mamc.health.mil provides virtual pre-operative appointments, virtual sleep consults, along with expanded pediatrics services. These services are part of the growing specialty care now available to the Medical Center’s patients through the use of virtual health.

Today, patients who live south of the Madigan Army Medical Center can opt to travel to a community medical home to take part in their pre-operative appointments with their anesthesia providers and nurse providers.

These appointments educate patients on how to prepare for surgeries and assess underlying health conditions that might impact the surgeries or the anesthetics used, according Col. (Dr.) Andrew Foster, Chief of the Department of Anesthesia and Operative Services at Madigan.

“There are really no limitations for the patient as the anesthesia evaluation is the same even though the patient is at a distance away from the base.”, said Jen Reinhardt, Clinical Nurse officer in Charge of Madigan’s Surgical Services Center.

Another example utilizing virtual technology is Madigan’s Sleep Medicine Service using virtual appointments which can offer a second opinion to a service member located at a distance from the base suffering with a debilitating sleep disorder diagnosis.

The Madigan doctor can study whether the opinion given to the service member to help with the sleep disorder is correct. The doctor can also discuss what the diagnosis could mean for a military career and what treatment options would be the most successful.

According to Dr. Brian O’Reilly, Madigan’s Medical Director for the Sleep Medicine Service, his clinic is taking medical care even closer to the patients with sleep disorders by enabling patients to use a simple probe on the finger or to take part in home sleep apnea tests. The probe measures a stress hormone which causes arteries to stiffen, which is the marker the probe is able to measure.

Virtual health is also expanding in pediatrics which began more than ten years ago offering real time echocardiograms of infants suspected of having congenital heart disease. Madigan trains pediatricians from locations without sonographers to conduct live supervised echocardiograms using virtual health technology, reports Allegra Frank, a Health Systems Specialist with the Madigan Department of Pediatrics.

Today, any Madigan pediatric specialist who wants to consult via virtual health is able to do so. It turns out that developmental behavioral pediatricians participate the most in virtual health by offering follow-up appointments to patients at Bassett Army Community Hospital in Alaska.  Just recently, Madigan patients obtained access to virtual health appointments with a pediatric nephrologist at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

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