Written by: John Lynn
One of my favorite things at healthcare IT conferences is to see someone dressed in full uniform. Turns out it happens a lot since the government run military hospitals and healthcare services are a large and important part of the US healthcare system. On this Veteran’s Day, I thought I’d depart from the usual Meaningful Use Monday to talk about a few of the things I know our military is doing and has done with EHR software in the Military.
Healthcare has gained a lot from innovations that have been done for the military with their EHR and the devices they use in healthcare. The most obvious discussion that happens with the military and EHR is the Vista EHR software that’s used in the VA. Vista has been a model for many to look at and see how multiple hospitals can share patient data. No doubt, the VA has a unique position that can’t be transferred to other hospitals. However, the benefits they receive from having one VA Vista EHR is something all of healthcare should try and achieve.
Plus, shortly after I first started in the EHR world, the government made the Vista EHR software open source. I still remember when the HIM director showed me a news clipping about Vista EHR being free. We were preparing for our EHR implementation in a small clinic and I had to explain to her how Vista might be free, but might not be the best option for a small practice. Although, if we were a hospital, I have little doubt I would have been looking a lot deeper into Vista. Now we have a number of companies built on the back of the Vista open source EHR software. They’ve had a hard road, but I think it’s a really healthy thing to have some open source EHR options for hospitals to consider. I hope they get much more widespread adoption. No doubt they have a compelling case to make.
Some of you might remember my review of the Durabook U12C convertible tablet. I think we can reasonably say that if it weren’t for the military we wouldn’t have hardly any offerings like this. When I think about a medic in the military trying to treat a patient in the desert of Iraq, it’s hard for me to fathom how brutal the conditions could be and the specialized equipment for the harsh environment. Add in the amazing military surgeons who are treating injured soldiers in makeshift military hospitals and I’m in awe of what they’re able to accomplish. Plus, the things they learn come back to benefit us.
With that in mind, think about the challenge of having the record of someone in the military available around the world no matter where they may be stationed. That’s an incredible challenge and one that I know the military is working hard to conquer.
While not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, I’m always proud when America spares no expense taking care of the military heroes who come home injured. They deserve the best medical care we can provide for sacrificing so much for the country. These are perfect opportunities to use telemedicine, mHealth and every other healthcare technology available.
One area I think that’s still developing is social media benefiting our injured military heroes. I know I’ve seen the power of connected communities of patients online. I hope we see more and more of these come together to help our military veterans.
On this Veterans day, let’s take a moment and honor our Veterans.