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Pentagon plans to consolidate military health records

The New York Times reports that the Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs have agreed to develop a joint computerized system for health records, which is a good thing:

Veterans say that under the current system, they sometimes have to carry paper copies of their health records from their military service to their new doctors at veterans hospitals. Some also complain that records transferred electronically get lost because the two computer systems are not always compatible.

Peter Gaytan, executive director of the American Legion in Washington, said that a joint health care system would reduce the time it takes for veterans to transition into the V.A. health system. Jim Strickland, a veterans advocate, said the lack of shared system meant that many doctors in the veterans health care system did not know details about the medical histories of veterans they treated, such as medications prescribed in Iraq or Afghanistan.

“That the V.A. physicians don’t have any access at all to the previous years of treatment records and notes by other doctors and caregivers is an absurd situation,” Mr. Strickland said. “The flow or continuum of good care is suddenly interrupted.”

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