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Revamped Health Care Web Site Allows Information Sharing

By Jamie Findlater
Special to American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2007 – The Defense Department’s military health care system is using its interactive, revamped Web site -- http://mhs.osd.mil -- to share information between U.S. military medical personnel and other government agencies and organizations outside the government.

“It’s a way to create a partnership for health that brings the servicemembers and family, the military leader and the medical provider-planner together with the objective of patient-focused health care,” said Dr. S. Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs.

Visitors to the site can post comments, take surveys, watch Web cams, subscribe to podcasts, and read unfiltered opinion from Casscells on his blog. They also can find out about special events, educate themselves about important healthy lifestyle changes, and watch videos about the latest health care updates.

Troops can use the site to post a comment about real-life experiences at military hospitals, military health care students can watch a podcast to prepare for a pandemic flu outbreak, and a health care specialist can read the diary of a senior Defense Department policy maker.

A special feature planned for the site is the “Tips from the Top Doc” section, where users can subscribe to get regular news updates and advice to soldiers about health care.

Casscells said he developed the idea for the site to address a growing need for connectivity and information sharing in the health care community, keeping an eye on changing expectations for news and information.

On the site, Casscells offers many of his opinions on health care, and provides his perspective about policy-making decisions and the implementation of military health care initiatives. He said he’s highly interested in welcoming new opinions and recognizes the valuable contributions of successful health care professionals worldwide.

Casscells said it is about talking in a language that servicemembers and military professionals understand.

“When our military medical forces work in the theater of war, they gain a sense of being connected with their sister services, as well as a worldwide community of health professionals,” Casscells said. “With this Web site, our medical forces can stay connected to each other and to their partners in federal health agencies, non-governmental organizations, industry and academia.”

(Jamie Findlater works in New Media at American Forces Information Service.)

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Biographies:
Dr. S. Ward Casscells
Defense Department Military Health Care System


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