Pentagon and Veterans Affairs Department officials said Tuesday it could take years to install a joint system for electronic health records that would alleviate delays for injured troops seeking medical care.
The comments about the joint records came before a House subcommittee, while the chairman of the full House Veterans' Affairs Committee said in a separate briefing for reporters that he planned to increase oversight of the VA following continuing reports of problems.
Testifying before the House panel, Stephen Jones, assistant defense secretary for health affairs, and Gerald Cross, the VA's acting principal deputy undersecretary for health, said the two departments had just begun contracting for an independent study to determine when and how inpatient and other records could be best shared electronically.
Some systems for storing health data electronically within the Pentagon might not be complete until 2012, they said.
Asked if they could say whether a fully operating joint system could be in place in five years, Jones and Cross declined to say.