Military Health System Commits $180M to Telehealth Expansion

By Eric Wicklund

Federal officials have selected Amwell and Leidos to create a $180 million hybrid care platform that will replace the Military Health System (MHS) Video Connect program.

The US Defense Health Agency (DHA) selected the two companies to power what it calls a “Digital First” strategy for the nation’s 9.6 million active-duty service members, family members, and retirees. The platform, to be rolled out over the next two years, will include virtual care and digital health tools and integrate with the MHS GENESIS electronic health record platform.

The announcement comes at a crucial time for the MHS, which is dealing with a surge in mental health cases and reports that only half of those needing help have access to providers. In related news, earlier this month the Department of Veterans Affairs announced agreements with 13 health systems across the country to share EHR data to improve healthcare access for veterans.

The announcements represent a commitment to hybrid care, particularly telehealth and digital health, in the nation’s largest health system, and the understanding that active-duty military members, veterans, and their families need to have multiple options to access care.

“Digital First addresses DHA’s goal of better outcomes, new processes, innovation, and increased standardization based on evidence,” Jason McCarthy, senior vice president of military and veterans health solutions for Leidos, said in a press release. “As part of our overall MHS GENESIS effort to enhance patient experience, we, along with Amwell, are looking forward to providing near real-time, self-service support and hybrid care options for our customer and those whom they serve.”

Eric Wicklund is the associate content manager and senior editor for Innovation, Technology, Telehealth, Supply Chain and Pharma for HealthLeaders.