D.C. (American Forces Press Service) ó For servicemembers who still
remember hand-carrying their medical records back and forth to
appointments, the new virtual lifetime electronic record will help
prevent misplaced paperwork and help providers maintain and offer
quality health care, the acting director of the program said.
Barack Obama, along with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and
Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki, announced April 9 that
VA and the Defense Department have taken steps toward creating a joint
virtual lifetime electronic record, or VLER.
presidentís vision, as he expressed that day, will permit
information vital to health care, benefits and services to be
available seamlessly to both departments from the moment a
servicemember enters the military until the servicemember's or veteranís
death," Navy Rear Adm. Gregory A. Timberlake, acting director of
the Defense Department-VA Interagency Program Office, said in a
"DotMilDocs" interview on Pentagon Web Radio.
The steps to
create the electronic record exchange began a little more than a year
ago when the program office was established as the single point of
accountability for the records in response to Section 1635 of the
National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2008.
"So, we need the ability to make health records available
to the providers who need it ..."
Rear Adm. Gregory A Timberlake,
VA Interagency Program Office
serve as a model for a nation, especially at this tumultuous time of
health care reform, and is intended to be a lifetime, personal record
for use by the servicemembers, their families and service providers to
ensure a seamless continuum of care and benefits," Timberlake
president challenged the departments to work together to define and
build a seamless system of integration with one simple goal: when a
servicemember separates from the military, he or she will no longer
have to walk paper records from a (Defense Department) duty station to
a local VA health center," the admiral said. "Their
electronic records will transition along with them and remain with
electronic record will help to reduce the loss of hard-copy health
records, it also is intended to provide a framework to ensure that
health-care providers have all the information they need to deliver
high-quality health care, while reducing medical errors. The
electronic record is a critical piece of the health-care puzzle
because, while the Defense Department and VA can share information
electronically, it may not be easily accessible by private clinicians,
significant amount of health care provided to (the Defense Department)
and VA beneficiaries occurs by private-sector providers," he
said. "So, we need the ability to make health records available
to the providers who need it, regardless if they are a military, VA,
or doctor within the public community."
ongoing data-sharing activities are continuing among agencies that
share information and are committed to improving health care to
"servicemen and women of the present, past and future,"
day, millions of pieces of health information are shared between (the
Defense Department) and VA; however, as Congress mandated and as the
departments have acknowledged, there is more work to do to make it
flow smoother," he said.