Navy pilot program tries to bring care to patients at home

The Navy wants to make sure you are healthy and not just by its definition.  It wants you to be healthy on your own terms.

The service is now two months into a pilot program at Naval Hospital Jacksonville that focuses on value-based health care.

“If [patients] don’t have to come into the hospital, don’t make them come to the hospital. Seventy percent of those that go into a primary care clinic don’t need to see...

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The Navy wants to make sure you are healthy and not just by its definition.  It wants you to be healthy on your own terms.

The service is now two months into a pilot program at Naval Hospital Jacksonville that focuses on value-based health care.

“If [patients] don’t have to come into the hospital, don’t make them come to the hospital. Seventy percent of those that go into a primary care clinic don’t need to see a physician, so why are we making them do that?” said Navy Surgeon General Vice Adm. C. Forrest Faison III during a Dec. 1 speech at the AMSUS Federal Health Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

Value-based care focuses on providing care to patients in a way that is convenient to them in hopes of improving outcome and satisfaction.

Naval Hospital Jacksonville developed four multidisciplinary teams based around diabetes, lower back pain, osteoarthritis and complicated pregnancy. Those teams work with patients suffering from each illness. The teams create personalized care plans and goals for patients, according to a Sept. 30 Navy press release.

The pilot is part of a larger Navy initiative to bring medical care into the 21st century and integrate health care into people’s day-to-day lives.

But, programs like value-based care may not be around for long. The 2017 defense authorization bill puts all military treatment facilities under the umbrella of the Defense Health Agency. If the bill makes it into law, which is has done the past 54 years, then DHA will be in charge of continuing the program.

Faison said private health care providers are already making health care a part of everyday life.

“What drives health care choice today? … Far and away the first most important is convenience. ‘Come into my ER, the wait time is five minutes.’ You see this across the nation. Major enterprises are getting into the health care business. Walmart as an example is putting clinics in many of its stores over the next two years,” Faison said.

“It makes things extremely convenient when no appointment is required and 90 percent of the nation’s population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart,” Faison said.

“If you can’t get to see them right away they’ll give you a restaurant pager or maybe even a coupon to take money off your shopping and then they’ll page you. … They have integrated health care into people’s day-to-day lives and when they can do that, why would you come to our hospitals?” Faison said.

The Navy’s challenge is to get its patients to choose the military for their health care needs, Faison said.

Part of doing that is using smartphones to stay connected with patients. Faison said there are close to 16,000 health care apps. The government is slow when it comes to mobility, so Faison said the Navy is working with industry partners to give patients the mobile access they want.

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