Impacting the Island People Across America

Lake bound island

Dr. Jamie Adler, the director of T2’s Telehealth program, recently moved from T2’s offices near Tacoma, Washington to those on the other side of the country in Washington, DC. In an email to T2 staff, he included some observations made while driving across the country solo in relation to those who use our products. The following is an excerpt from his email.

As I was driving from Puget Sound to DC, I had a couple of observations. First–this is a very BIG country! It’s amazing to drive for so many hours at a time and make such little progress on the map. Second–much of the U.S. is wide-open space! We don’t really notice it in an urban or suburban setting, but most of the U.S. landmass is wild–or enormous ranches and/or farmland.

Third observation (and, I think, the most important)–“our” people live out there! A significant portion of the DoD beneficiary population lives in pockets within the vast open spaces of this enormous country (especially true for members of the Guard and Reserve).

From the perspective of an military treatment facility-focused health care system, these disparate pockets of beneficiaries may not constitute the “low-hanging fruit” that everyone seems to seek when they look at potential new initiatives, and we probably impact more people at a time when we invest in making facility- and clinic-based care more efficient. However, from the perspective of trying to help members of our DoD family to build health, access quality health care, and maintain readiness, I would venture a guess that many of those in these remote communities are in greatest need of help from our system.

This is one area in which it becomes easy to see the value of the work that we do. In many cases, telehealth may be the only practical way to provide the care that is needed, or our mobile apps and websites may offer some people health-maintenance tools that are simply not available to them in another form and with sufficient relevance to their needs.

I think, perhaps, that we often forget about the “island people”–whether those islands are created by surrounding oceans or vast open spaces. They are not part of the daily experience for most of us, and awareness of their needs may be superseded by the imperative to plan, build, and implement for the larger masses of our beneficiaries. I hope, however, that T2 serves as an effective advocate for our rural, frontier, and otherwise isolated brothers and sisters. They desperately need what we have to offer.

--Jamie Adler