Telehealth is the use of technology to provide health care consultation, education, assessment, treatment, care coordination and support for health care providers and patients separated by distance. In the area of behavioral health care, the wide dispersal of the Military Health System’s beneficiaries creates challenges. According to a 2015 RAND report, more than 300,000 U.S. military service members in geographically remote locations may benefit from telehealth services, which:
- Bring care to the patient
- Eliminate travel time
- Reduce delays in care
- Enable continuity in care
- Offer cost-effective care
Supporting the growth of telehealth within the DoD has always been a core objective for T2. The successful integration of telehealth into the overall DoD health services system requires enterprise-wide strategies, policies and guidance. T2 has led telehealth growth efforts by leveraging partnerships with the Services, VA, TRICARE and civilian providers. These efforts include:
- Publishing the first evidence-based study in 2015 for in-home evidence-based telehealth for service members. This clinical trial demonstrated the efficacy and safety of a using telehealth to deliver mental health treatment.
- Representing the DoD in inter-agency federal telehealth working groups.
- Completing the first joint DoD/VA telemental health pilot under the auspices of the DoD/VA Health Executive Council (HEC).
Telemental Health Education and Training
T2 offers the following telemental health (TMH) training and tools (available here for download) to provide military behavioral health clinicians and administrators with the clinical and technical skills required to understand and deliver health services in this way:
Introduction to Telemental Health
T2’s Introduction to Telemental Health is an overview of the primary elements of TMH delivery in the DoD. This introductory primer describes the history, benefit and clinical application of telehealth for providers as they contemplate adding this new delivery system to their practices.
DoD Telemental Health Guidebook
The DoD Telemental Health Guidebook provides key organizational, system, technical, and clinical information to help DoD health care providers and agencies understand the key processes, technologies and regulations essential to deploying a successful, effective TMH program.