Improving Healthcare for Military Families
Medscape, the largest source of online continuing education for physicians and other health professionals, has teamed up with Joining Forces to ensure that our country’s servicemembers, veterans, and military families receive the best healthcare possible.
Soon after the White House released “Strengthening Our Military Families” in January 2011, Medscape began working with leading experts in military healthcare to create 10 new online education programs on topics ranging from military culture to screening for post-traumatic stress disorder and helping families connect with VA services. The free modules include links to resources from the government, warrior advocacy groups and medical associations. More than 100,000 physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers have viewed these education courses in the past year.
The curriculum that Medscape has created enables community health professionals to understand and meet the needs of military families. As servicemembers return home to their communities, such preparation is imperative—only half of those eligible for VA services seek treatment there.
“Approximately a quarter of the 2.4 million veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan will have post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury,” noted Dr. Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, one of the experts who helped develop the Medscape curriculum. “Approximately half will seek treatment in the Veterans Health Administration. Others will seek help through their employment and college primary healthcare setting. Many others will not seek treatment at all, but may be brought to an emergency room by a family member or friend. Thus it is vitally important that all providers know the basics of recognition and treatment of the psychological effects of war.” Dr. Ritchie, formerly the U.S. Army’s chief psychiatrist, now serves as chief clinical officer for the District of Columbia Department of Mental Health.
Educating healthcare professionals and America's families is an ongoing initiative for Medscape and the WebMD consumer health site. The goal is to make the interactions between military families and their healthcare providers as effective as possible to generate positive health outcomes.
“We want to help the nation’s warriors and their families receive the care they deserve, and we’re proud to make this public commitment,” said Ezra Ernst, the senior vice president of Medscape.