Proposed Online Application Would Help MHS Beneficiaries Determine Their Risks

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WASHINGTON -DoD hopes to roll out by 2014 an application that would help servicemembers avoid chronic conditions, while lowering overall medical costs.

A recent Federal Business Opportunities announcement said the feature, which would be available through a patient portal, would include a standardized, evidence-based, core question set that would enable the Military Health System (MHS) to assess health, wellness and at-risk behaviors of its beneficiaries.

Data would be gathered for evidence of common chronic conditions such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia and asthma.

After responding to the questions in the application, beneficiaries would receive an online “Well-Being Plan” and referral to a medical team, which also would receive the plan. The Well-Being Plan would include a personalized summary of the overall health of each patient and offers suggested steps to improve their future status.

Developing such an assessment tool would require “accurate and timely collection, distribution and access of health-based information, and a novel strategy for engaging all health beneficiaries,” according to the announcement.

Once developed, the Well-Being Plans could be valuable point-of-care tools for the beneficiary, their primary care provider and their Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) team, it added.

DoD, which is seeking evidence of vendor expertise on development or adoption of the application, said feasibility testing could begin as early as 2013.

Information for the health assessment would come from both self-reported and biometric data from the D0D’s Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology application (AHLTA), its electronic health record system, and, in the future, from the integrated electronic health record (iEHR) with the VA. It also eventually could include data from private sector care used by MHS beneficiaries.

“Moving from health care to health requires a baseline assessment of health and wellness to enable data-driven decisions,” DoD said in the request for information.

“The MHS needs to increase its ability to help individuals adopt healthy behaviors or achieve lasting behavioral change,” according to the document. “In addition to the ‘cost’ that poor health has on quality of life, at stake is $1.1 billion per year liability, which the MHS faces due to the cost of health-related problems associated with beneficiaries who are either overweight/obese or use tobacco products. Existing health assessments are stove-piped and are unable to provide aggregate data or risk assessments at the [point of care]; nor can they provide summative data to epidemiologists. Additionally, none of the current assessments result in a personal prevention plan. This critical tool is required to produce a solution-based approach aimed at curbing costs generated by preventable chronic disease.”

The document noted that health screenings now only are required for active-duty servicemembers.

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