Discovery Health MD: Maritime Safety Preparedness Driven by Values

How calculated health and safety planning saves lives

Image via Discovery Health MD.

In recent years, preventative health methods and risk management practices have been front-and-center on the world’s stage. And for the maritime industry, one of the most daring and inherently dangerous industries in the world, new health and safety risks have been introduced, and the same approach rings true: Be aware, be prepared, and be safe.

For years, marine-centric companies have adopted health and risk management methods ranging from pre-employment health screenings to medical emergency management. Varying levels of preparation impact both seafarers and the companies that they dedicate their efforts to. Different companies have different safety goals and the ultimate reason to achieve those goals is clear: caring for people.

Discovery Health MD is dedicated to spreading awareness of the tremendous benefits that proactive health and risk management can provide to the people who shape the maritime industry.

Founded by Drs. Ray and Ann Jarris in Seattle, Discovery Health MD (DHMD) was created to establish avenues for immediate access to expert medical advice and care logistics for remote workers. Ray and Ann personally experienced the frustration caused by underutilization of creative technology-driven resources in medicine and decided to explore occupational healthcare and telemedicine support for emergency medical services in the maritime industry.

“My late husband, Ray, and I wanted to create a platform to allow physicians to practice emergency medicine supported by technology.” CEO Dr. Ann Jarris said.

Practicing shoreside emergency medicine in the heart of the maritime community quickly exposed a gap in care and an even greater need for exploration into preventative healthcare and virtual support within this niche industry. Leading innovation and spearheading research efforts, Dr. Ann Jarris pursued the opportunity to become the maritime health and safety expert she is today.

After years of navigating the ambiguity of the Jones Act and the lack of standardization for medical requirements in the industry, she created programs to ensure immediate, equitable access to expert advice regardless of physical location. Her passion for developing creative solutions to challenging problems propelled DHMD as we pivot, adapt and strategically implement new services and offerings to provide the best care for people around the globe. 

Partnering with DHMD is as interesting as it is beneficial. An in-depth analysis of our clients’ current operations and goals highlights potential opportunities and provides actionable insights as to how an organization can best support their employees on land or at sea.

Preventative methods are imperative to ensure that people are physically capable of specific job requirements. Depending on the method of screening, underlying health risks can be identified and addressed to further that person’s quality of life. DHMD’s Fitness for Duty programs have been rigorously tested over years of interaction with the maritime industry providing programs tailored to meet unique physical and environmental conditions.

Fitness for Duty reveals potential health issues of crewmembers and addresses medical concerns before issues can arise. Medical history review and biometric screenings also identify potential ailments. With this information, DHMD can make recommendations for special medical accommodations to ensure all crew members are supported while at sea.

Clients experience the most value by layering DHMD services. The more insight DHMD has to what resources are readily available, the more effective emergency treatment and de-escalation can be if the time comes. Fitness for Duty, medical supply management and DHMD’s 24/7 medical advisory program, SeaDoc, is the employee care trifecta. Supported by information collected during Fitness for Duty screenings paired with the understanding of accessible resources, SeaDoc physicians can appropriately navigate medical emergencies. For an all-encompassing approach, DHMD also offers controlled substance management programs, AED solutions and COVID-19 testing.

DHMD’s SeaDoc team understands the appropriate utilization of limited resources and the importance of delivering the safest approach to providing care when an incident occurs. The natural risk of operating remotely can expose people to dangerous environments. When inappropriately or unnecessarily navigated, dire consequences can occur.

“There have been emergencies where the injured party was delivered to safety but those dedicated to rescuing them were not as fortunate,” Dr. Jarris emphasizes. “We’re dedicated to considering safety for all parties involved when assessing the need to execute rescue plans.”

Occupational medical emergencies can be extremely detrimental to an organization and unpreparedness can spark a domino effect of implications. Following an incident, employers face an overall increase in costs from insurance rates, deductibles, and claims as well as lost revenue by down time and lost business due to adverse safety profiles.

Most importantly, when an incident occurs and depending on how the situation is handled, employers can experience lost confidence from their employees.

“In an emergency, it’s easy to give the directive to divert or call for a medevac but it takes compassion, accountability, effort, and intuition to do the right thing for everyone involved. If a diversion or a medevac is required, there was possibly a missed opportunity to prevent it,” said Dr. Jarris. “Investing in the care of your people, the most important asset of a company, far outweighs the cost of being unprepared.”

When choosing a health and safety partner, it is important to consider organizations with extensive experience and a deep understanding of the maritime industry. Being supported by a team of professionals that are familiar with potential hazards, varying physical locations, available medical equipment, and the crew’s overall health, ultimately saves lives. 

DHMD offers creative and flexible solutions to fit any organization’s health and risk management needs. For more information about Discovery Health, visit or contact