Let's take a moment to acknowledge military mHealth achievements

There is a strong tendency for most Americans to think the bureaucratic process often gets in the way of federal agencies undertaking innovative programs and strategies.

It's typically an inherent belief for many of us given the stumbles federal agencies often make and the headlines those missteps generate, with good news often relegated to back pages.

But that shouldn't be the case when it comes to the progress the U.S. military departments have made with mobile health technology--and how they are using the tools to help active service personnel and injured soldiers.

Just a month ago, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration green-lit a new device that will help medics more accurately and more quickly diagnose traumatic brain injury while on the battlefield. The tool boasts disposal sensors and a headset using an Android smartphones.

Now comes new research on how military departments are using mHealth to make a difference when it comes to veterans' rehabilitation and recuperation efforts. 

The study is an in-depth look at a military-developed text app, mCare, created in 2011. The app was designed to help service personnel with medical appointment alerts and content regarding medical issues. The research reveals that the tool, and others like it, can help to "increase the quantity and quality of patient-provider communications in a community-based, rehabilitation care setting, above that of standard care."

That is just likely the start of what these kind of tools can provide, which researchers say can also help wounded personnel with chronic care management issues and goal awareness in medical recovery.

In addition, a year ago the Veterans Affairs Department announced plans to launch two of several new mHealth apps providing veterans easier and quicker access to healthcare data via smartphones and tablets. The Summary of Care and Blue Button apps offer military personnel access to electronic health records, and enable the sharing of health information with non-VA providers. The two apps, initially developed as desktop applications for the agency's My HealtheVet portal, attained top ratings from users during beta testing.

Neil Evans, co-director of the Connected Health at the Veterans Health Administration, said many the agency's recent efforts have been tied to the prime fact that veterans want health record access and apps via a mobile device, FierceMobileHealthcare previously reported. Simply put, mobile is where everyone is located today, especially new military service personnel, given their age and experience with technology.

Such achievements aren't likely to garner many major headlines. Still, they deserve to acknowledgement, especially considering how much attention is paid to processes gone awry. - Judy (@JudyMottl and @FierceHealthIT)

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