News and Insights

There continues to be a healthcare worker shortage in the United States, affecting all sectors of the health system. The Military Health System (MHS) is no exception. Military health system healthcare contracting companies play a crucial role in ensuring that the goals of the MHS system are met.

Fulfilling the needs of the Military Health System requires that Healthcare contracting companies possess a deep understanding of the dual goals of the Defense Health Agency: to provide quality care and to ensure the medical readiness of our armed forces. The Military Health System has a smaller talent pool to recruit from than civilian systems. MHS healthcare workers must not only meet the medical qualifications but also pass rigorous security clearances. Active-duty service members, veterans, and their families also have unique needs, including treatment for combat-related physical and emotional trauma. Medical providers with experience with the armed services (whether as a veteran or family member) can often make connections due to an understanding of military culture. A successful healthcare contracting company can place effective staff matches for the Department of Defense and those of active-duty service members, veterans, and their families.

But top healthcare contracting companies can take their relationship with the DOD to the next level. Some contractors are also on the leading edge of innovations designed to enhance capacity and improve workflows, quality, and efficiency. These contractors are partnering to reshape healthcare and address the labor shortage through clinical advances, program management, data analysis, and information technology improvements.

Good management practices and operational excellence are two ways government healthcare contractors can be exceptional partners to the MHS and DOD. Management and administrative staff must be well-versed in military and government requirements at every step, from procurement to fulfillment. Their employees must be proficient in Vendor Management Systems, which support the effective management of supplemental healthcare staff. They should have an effective Applicant Tracking System to meet the Office of Federal Contract and Compliance Programs (OFCCP) requirements. They must be invested in continuous improvement and provide analytics and insights on performance and quality outcomes.

The Best Healthcare Contractors Also Bring Innovation to the DHA/DOD

Healthcare technology can be a part of the solution for the healthcare worker shortage while enhancing patient outcomes and increasing job satisfaction by eliminating redundant and mundane tasks. Emerging practices include:

  • Using data analytics to forecast patient demand, improving staff scheduling and coverage while preventing expensive underutilization of staff. The appropriate staff ratios for optimum coverage ensure high-quality patient outcomes.
  • Enhancing the effectiveness of providers with artificial intelligence (AI). Some promising areas include radiology, where human-AI collaborative processes can enhance diagnostic readings. AIs can also quickly support the review and analysis of medical data, providing alerts for healthcare providers to look deeper. On the most basic level, AI can automate routine and mundane tasks, freeing providers up for the more rewarding aspects of their role.
  • Allowing providers to collaborate and consult with other providers using cloud-based technologies when working with patients with complex diagnoses or when handing off patients for specialist care in another facility.
  • Broadening patient access to care with telehealth. Telehealth can have a dramatic impact on patient access to care. Appointments with remote providers can address staffing shortages in critical areas like specialists and mental health providers without adverse effects. A published review of 38 meta-analyses concluded that, for specific disciplines, telehealth is equivalent or more clinically effective when compared to in-person care.
  • Supporting patients, answering their questions, enhancing follow-through and medication compliance at home with wraparound telehealth services.
  • Sending data with remote medical devices to allow healthcare workers to monitor vitals and make adjustments to treatment plans and medications. Recently published reports on two VA telehealth programs demonstrated the effectiveness of programs that used remote equipment and provided telehealth support. There was a measurable improvement in both studies. Veterans receiving mental health services had fewer emergency visits and less suicidal behavior. For patients who were recovering from strokes, telehealth reduced unnecessary transfers to other facilities.

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