Army wants to add behavioral health to Joint Telemedicine Network

The U.S. Army's surgeon general wants to employ the Army's Joint Telemedicine Network, now in use in Afghanistan and Iraq, to deliver much-needed mental health services to deployed soldiers. The surgeon general, Lt. Gen. Eric Schoomaker, said at a press briefing last month that the Army needs to take advantage of technology to help soldiers deal with combat stress and other behavioral health issues. The existing telemedicine network may be the answer, according to Nextgov.

The Army developed the network to send X-rays and other digital images from field medical sites to Landstuhl Army Medical Center in Germany and other military hospitals in the U.S. Some sites also have videoconferencing equipment, which could be the means to deliver remote behavioral health services. A field medical commander says that he already has tested the Joint Telemedicine Network for such a purpose. Currently, only the largest U.S. Army hospitals in Iraq have psychologists and other behavioral health specialists; telemedicine could help reach soldiers at smaller installations.

To learn more about this plan:
- peruse this Nextgov story