TECHNOLOGY AND YOU – GARY M. KAYE – Both Congress and the Administration are moving to relieve the backlog of Veterans waiting for access to medical care by authorizing them to get private treatment at the VA’s expense. But those Veterans are still facing some formidable obstacles, not the least among them is getting access to their own records and taking them with them to new providers. But technology that’s already in place can help them jump some of the bureaucratic hurdles. Many Veterans are covered by a variety of health plans, including the VA, Tricare (the military’s medical insurance), and older vets may be covered by Medicare. In addition, their medical records may reside with the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Veteranss Administration as well as private providers. Since many vets are facing (or are living with ) long and complex medical problems, just gathering their records together to bring them to a private hospital or doctor is challenging Critics point out that so-called legacy electronic medical record systems, like those housing DoD records and VA systems are not even capable of talking to one another.
Aneesh Chopra, the former White House Chief Technology Officer says the government has spent billions of dollars and decades trying to resolve the problem. But, he notes that fundamentally they may be going after the wrong solution, “The challenge is actually simpler. The question ultimately is, ‘what problem are you trying to solve?’ Are you solving a modernization problem, or are you solving an interoperability problem? Because if you want to solve the interoperability problem, the better thing to do, I believe is to have each IT node point the data directly to the patient because the thing that the patient can do that the systems can’t do together is verify with 100% confidence that I am who I am to get my own records.”
In simpler language, it’s going to be a lot easier for the patient to get his own records from the DoD or the VA and then bring it with him then to get those institutions to see each other’s records and talk to one another. For the full story, click here