A lack of interoperability between two key electronic health-record systems and between those systems and outside pharmacies has led to an inability to track multiple controlled substances prescribed for sick and wounded U.S. Marines at the Wounded Warrior Battalion at Camp Lejeune, N.C., according to a Defense Department Inspector General's Office report (PDF).
A group of medical case managers told OIG investigators that "the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing on base and the polypharmacy problem is amplified by the off-base providers," according to the report. The inspector general defined polypharmacy as "the use of a number of different drugs, possibly prescribed by different doctors and filled in different pharmacies by a patient who may have one or several health problems."
One unnamed "senior medical officer," according to the report, said "the polypharmacy issue scares him to death."
Part of the problem can be attributed to a cacophony among multiple IT systems, most notably the Composite Health Care System, which serves military hospitals, and the long-troubled Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application, or AHLTA, which was originally proposed in 1999 to be the replacement to CHCS but never made the grade.