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MCAHC launches pediatric TeleHealth pilot program

By Andrew J. Brown Jr. McDonald Army Health Center


The McDonald Army Health Center Pediatric Clinic has developed a TeleHealth pilot program to test the concepts of virtual healthcare with beneficiaries who would generally require face-to-face encounters with their child’s provider.


TeleHealth 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.


“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,” said Dr. Ronald Mack, MCAHC chief of pediatrics. “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. 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.”


The pilot program 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.


“A beneficiary’s 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,” said Jacquelyn Brown, TeleHealth coordinator.


Like all other innovative pilot programs, this one is not without growing pains, but the future is bright for TeleHealth at MCAHC, said Brown. 


“The main obstacle is with working out the process. We started with an idea of what it would take to make the program successful,” Brown said. “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.”


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 patients’ homes, which will create a significant time and cost savings as well as improve the overall patient experience.


“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,” Brown said.


Beneficiaries interested in the pilot program can contact the MCAHC Pediatric Clinic at (757) 314-7500, extension 42172, or (757) 314-7500, extension 42098.




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