Veterans may soon benefit electronic health records through a joint medical records system called Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record. Big changes for the largest healthcare system in the nation.

Service Members’ Medical Records

The New York Times reported that the Pentagon has plans to electronically consolidate military service members’ medical records.  The Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs have decided to form a joint records system to provide a single source for  military medical records.  According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the two departments have the largest health care systems in the nation.

The new joint medical records system is called the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER).  Its purpose is to create, manage and maintain the service members’ health data from enlistment until death in a single record.  The joint system will also make health care more efficient, as there will be shorter wait time for records to be transferred from the Pentagon to the Department of Veterans Affairs.  This was a major concern voiced by veterans – that they wouldn’t have a complete medical record upon entering the veterans’ hospital system and that sometimes the computer systems of the Defense Department and Veterans Affairs are incompatible, therefore making them inaccessible.

Doctors will now be able to view the service member’s health data as one continuous record instead of in fragments.  Any kind of gap in a medical record could cause serious problems for the patient, such as missing info about health conditions, drug interactions and allergies.  Another added benefit of the military EMR system is that researchers and epidemiologists can mine lots of data easily from one source and work with pharmaceutical companies to study medical conditions and find treatments.  This, in the future, can end up benefiting all of society and not just veterans.

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