Military Health Records Will Be Consolidated

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Doubts In The Minds Of Retired Military Personnel

During the last several years, retiring military personnel had doubts whether their medical records would be maintained adequately. They had the question of whether the records would be rightly transferred from the database of the Defense Department to the database of the Department of Veteran Affairs. The two departments have now reached a joint computerized system to maintain a single database to store the records from the time a person is enrolled till the time of his or her demise.Move Aimed Towards Consolidating The Two Systems

The new move is aimed to be one of the several proposed moves to consolidate the rambling health care systems of the two departments. The two systems together manage over fifteen million records for active military personnel, retired service persons, veterans, and their families. A report compiled by the Government Accountability Office in February showed that the Defense Department and the Department of Veteran Affairs lagged in developing a shared system for storing the electronic information. In addition, the report revealed that although the two departments have spent billions of dollars on upgrading their systems, the efforts on synchronizing their system was lacking. Therefore, additional joint efforts were required to improve the joint strategic planning.

Decision Reached During A May 2 Meeting

During their meeting held on 2nd May, the defense secretary, Robert M. Gates and the secretary of veteran affairs, Eric. K. Shinseki agreed to develop a joint system. The proposal has been discussed since a long time but there were several doubts surrounding these decisions. Presently, the veterans complain that they are required to carry physical copies of the health records while visiting physicians at the veterans’ hospitals. Additional complaints reveal that the records are lost during the transfer of the information from one system to another system because of their incompatibility.

Data To Be Compatible

The proposed integration will make the information completely interoperable said the deputy chief management officer for the Defense Department Elizabeth A. McGrath. An integrated system will make procuring healthcare services for veterans easier. This is because the veterans will not need to go to the Pentagon in case their records are missing from the database of the veterans system. Another advantage of an integrated database is that physicians, researchers, and epidemiologists to diagnose healthcare trends. Often, a medical problem does not emerge until a few years after the individuals have retired from active service. Therefore, the availability of all information in a single location will make it easier for the medical researchers.

A Joint System To Bring Efficiencies

The new system is estimated to reap in huge benefits for the two departments, although the exact number is not available. The system will be implemented over several years but will have numerous benefits when completed. The new system will decrease the time that it takes to move to the Veterans Affairs health care system. Lastly, the new integrated system will create efficiencies in the way the two departments work.