Military officials and lawmakers alike hailed President Barack Obamas initiative to create a joint virtual lifetime electronic health record within U.S. military departments.
Accurate electronic medical records are essential to reducing costs, helping eliminate medical errors and providing seamless quality care, which is why investments in health IT are a top priority for the Obama administration and for Congress, said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a written statement.
Both Defense and Veterans Affairs departments plan to work together to streamline the transfer of their respective active-duty military and veterans' health records, to create this virtual EHR. The departments will work together to build a system that will include medical and administrative records from throughout service members' military time and into their civilian lives, according to a White House news release.
Defense and the VA plan to work in phases, to identify common processes, and to develop and deploy common services. The impact of this new approach on the different systems that exist within the DOD and VA will also be evaluated, said Defense spokeswoman Cynthia Smith.
Obama said access to EHRs was essential to modern healthcare delivery, adding that the new system will provide a framework to ensure that all healthcare providers have all the information they need to deliver high-quality healthcare while reducing medical errors. The president's news release said the new military system would serve as a model EHR system for the nation.