2016 Issues   /   November 2016

Telemedicine Allows Army, Indian Health Service to Expand Range of Diabetes Care

By U.S. Medicine

By Annette M. Boyle

Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center and Blanchfield Army Community Hospital launched the Army's first pilot Telehealth primary care services within BACH's Emergency Center earlier this year. In this photo, Spc. Nathan Dye prepares 1st Lt. Maxx Maumla as Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army observes. Army Medicine photo by Laura Boyd

Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center and Blanchfield Army Community Hospital launched the Army’s first pilot Telehealth primary care services within BACH’s Emergency Center earlier this year. In this photo, Spc. Nathan Dye prepares 1st Lt. Maxx Maumla as Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army observes. Army Medicine photo by Laura Boyd

FALLS CHURCH, VA—To reach the growing number of individuals in their care who have diabetes, both the Army and the Indian Health Service have aggressively adopted telemedicine, with excellent results. Their efforts have increased in importance with the dramatic rise in the number of Americans diagnosed with diabetes.

For the Army, telemedicine is making a difference in the lives of soldiers with diabetes as well as those whose dependents have the disease. While the number of active duty soldiers with diabetes has fallen from 249 to 186 in the last five years, a combination of improved treatments and better access to care means a diabetes diagnosis is no longer the career-ending event it was a few decades ago.

Telemedicine has been a major factor in improving access to care for soldiers and their families, whether stationed in the U.S. or abroad. “One of the benefits of telemedicine is the ability to provide the best health care Army Medicine has to offer, wherever the provider and the patient are,” said Colleen Rye, PhD, chief, Army Virtual Health.

Army Medicine spends more than $10 million annually on telemedicine, according to Rye. That investment “has built an integrated global system of telemedicine/virtual care covering our beneficiaries in over 30 countries and territories, 18 time zones and in over 30 clinical specialties,” she told U.S. Medicine.

Remote health monitoring (RHM) addresses one of the major concerns with managing diabetes among active duty personnel: How does it affect readiness?

A retrospective study of a telemedicine clinic at the Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, published in the Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, tackled that question. It found that with remote monitoring,  very physically active patients with Type 1 diabetes “could attain acceptable [hemoglobin] A1c targets without compromise of military duties. Furthermore, through advanced monitoring techniques, we were able to verify that participation in extreme forms of activity was safe.”1

The range of activities studied included military deployments, airborne operations, high-altitude low-opening parachute jumps, 400-mile cycling events, and ultra-marathons as well as airborne and jumpmaster training programs.


Related Articles

GAO: ‘Gaps’ in MHS Physician Specialties Could Affect Wartime Readiness

In honor of National Caregivers Month this November, the VA Palo Alto, CA, Health Care System, held events for friends and family who provide care to ill, injured or disabled veterans. VA photo WASHINGTON —... View Article

DoD, VA Still Struggle with Diagnosing, Treating Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

Diagnosing and treating mild traumatic brain injury continues to pose challenges for clinicians, TBI experts told lawmakers.


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From department of defense dod

Department of Defense (DoD)

GAO: ‘Gaps’ in MHS Physician Specialties Could Affect Wartime Readiness

Vascular Events Lead to Stroke About a Fourth of the Time. INDIANAPOLIS — While many healthcare systems measure the quality of their stroke care, looking at performance early in the vascular disease process can help... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Vows to Meet Deadline for Revamp of Veteran Claims Appeal Process

Vascular Events Lead to Stroke About a Fourth of the Time. INDIANAPOLIS — While many healthcare systems measure the quality of their stroke care, looking at performance early in the vascular disease process can help... View Article

Department of Defense (DoD)

DoD, VA Still Struggle with Diagnosing, Treating Mild Traumatic Brain Injuries

Diagnosing and treating mild traumatic brain injury continues to pose challenges for clinicians, TBI experts told lawmakers.

Department of Defense (DoD)

VA Promises to Resolve Late Payment Issues with Community Healthcare Providers

Vascular Events Lead to Stroke About a Fourth of the Time. INDIANAPOLIS — While many healthcare systems measure the quality of their stroke care, looking at performance early in the vascular disease process can help... View Article

Department of Defense (DoD)

Change in VA/DoD Guidelines for Low Back Pain Surprising Even for Authors

If VA clinicians are surprised by the significant changes in the updated recommendations recently issued by the VA and DoD for the diagnosis and management of low back pain, they are not alone. The evidence review even shocked many members of the work group that wrote the new clinical practice guidelines.

Facebook Comment

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up