FedHealthIT’s President Susan Sharer had the opportunity to connect with Naval Hospital Jacksonville Commander Capt. Matthew Case and virtual health champion Lt. Cmdr. Hannah Starnes to talk about Navy Care, the virtual health app used at Naval Hospital Jacksonville and its five branch health clinics. Naval Hospital Jacksonville’s Navy Care will be recognized as one of the FedHealthIT 2020 Innovation Award Winners at this year’s 4-day FedHealthIT Innovation 4-Day Virtual Awards & Networking Event.

Overview

Navy Care offers our patients a live, virtual visit with one of our clinicians. Patients use their smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer to receive care at home, work or wherever they are.

Navy Care enables our providers to offer virtual care to our sailors wherever they are, cutting down on absences from work and family, and making better use of our operational forces’ work time.  It’s a big win for mission readiness.

It’s available to patients (active duty, retired military, and families) with a primary care manager at our hospital or branch health clinics.

How it Works

Navy Care is user friendly. Our patients download the app onto their personal device, create their account, with a unique online ID and password, and log in. Patients can make an appointment on Navy Care, by calling our appointment lines as usual. Or, patients can use Navy Care On Demand. After logging in, the patient selects a virtual waiting room (active duty, civilian adult, or pediatric), and selects a provider. The providers include family medicine physicians, psychologists, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, etc. The wait time to connect is quick.

The Navy Care virtual health app can be used on an iOS or Android operating system.

Patient Response

Navy Care has proven to be an effective readiness tool for active duty sailors and their families. Instead of taking several hours off work for an on-site appointment, patients are able to have their secure virtual visit in a private location they select, and return to work (or family) quickly.  Patients rate Navy Care 4.83 out of 5 stars.

COVID-19 Ramp Up

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, we had about 7,000 patients enrolled in Navy Care, with about 3,500 virtual visits.  We now have more than 17,600 patients enrolled and about 11,500 virtual visits.

Navy Care offers a robust option for patient care situations that don’t require an in-person visit.  In addition, a provider who is well — but is quarantined, due to potential exposure to COVID-19 — can conduct virtual visits from their quarantine room at home.

Our staff assigned to U.S. Navy Expeditionary Medical Facility – M, in support of COVID-19 missions across the U.S., have access to mental health support, chaplain services, and peer support, via Navy Care.

The Future

As we look to leverage improved capabilities, to be agile and flexible, Navy Care offers a powerful tool.  Moving forward, virtual health visits will grow and become part of our new normal.  Navy Care offers a high-performing case study for virtual health in the military health system — for active duty, retired military, and their families — at home and deployed.  For hospitals looking to implement a telehealth platform, we can attest to the success of this tool.  It can be leveraged in any operational setting.

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