Wright-Patterson Medical Center leads military health care innovation

  • Published
  • By Kristen Van Wert
  • 88th Medical Group

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, OhioWright-Patterson Medical Center is at the forefront of a new era in military health care, selected by Defense Health Agency as one of five facilities to pilot a more patient-centered care model.

This initiative marks a shift in how military medicine approaches patient care and provider interaction. Staff at Wright-Patterson and four other hospitals will explore innovative methods to enhance the experience for both patients and health care teams. Insights gleaned from these teams and patients will inform DHA’s expansion of this new model to military treatment facilities worldwide beginning in 2025.

“We’re looking for ways to improve how both patients and providers experience care,” said Col. Dale Harrell, 88th Medical Group commander. “Everything from how you make an appointment, complete lab work or use the pharmacy to deciding whether to receive care in person or virtually – we are expanding all options.”

New digital tools empower patients

My Military Health, a suite of digital tools and technologies, will play a key role in driving this innovation. The platform will provide patients with easier, faster and more convenient access to care and their health information, anytime and anywhere.

“Our patients have made it clear they want to be actively engaged in their health care,” Harrell said. “When patients are engaged, they’re more satisfied with the care they receive, and when they’re satisfied with their care, they’re more likely to have better outcomes.”  

SilverCloud, an online self-help wellness platform within My Military Health, empowers patients with on-demand resources. These automated, confidential and judgment-free programs offer cognitive behavioral therapy and coaching support directly accessible via smartphone, tablet or computer.

Programs address a range of needs, from resilience training, stress management and mindfulness to anxiety, depression, communication skills, relationships, sleep issues and more. Each program includes interactive tools such as mood trackers, journals, videos, reading materials and exercises.

“Improving patient and provider well-being is a top priority for the DHA and the Department of Defense,” Harrell said. “SilverCloud allows us to get more people the help they need by putting tools directly in their hands.”

In the coming months, Wright-Patterson Medical Center patients will gain access to additional My Military Health features, including appointment reminders, virtual waiting rooms, scheduled and on-demand telehealth visits, and an online directory of primary and specialty care providers within the network. Care Companion, a new digital platform, will also be available, helping patients follow care plans and meet health goals by maintaining connections with their health care teams between appointments.

“We’re excited to help shape the future of military health care,” Harrell said. “The 88th Medical Group staff are eager to identify and embrace the ideas and innovations that will improve the way we deliver care to those we’re privileged to serve.”

Other facilities participating in this military health care model transformation include:

  • Martin Army Community Hospital, Fort Moore, Georgia
  • Naval Medical Center Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Naval Hospital Jacksonville, Florida
  • Eglin Air Force Base Hospital, 96th Medical Group, Florida