Opinion: Why electronic health records modernization gives this Veteran caregiver hope

“Joe’s and my journey began with the military health system in 2004, and we transferred his care to the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2011, when Joe was medically retired from the Army. The care they provided gave us 13 wonderful years together. The system mostly worked for us, but it wasn’t always easy…”

“As my husband’s sole caregiver, I had to figure out a way to go to school full-time, work, and also get him back and forth to appointments at a civilian hospital 1.5 hours away. I had to be his biggest advocate during lengthy hospital stays. And I had to figure out how to get Joe’s medical records to and from his providers so the military and civilian doctors knew what each other were doing. This continued after he was medically retired in 2011 and transferred to VA care.”

“We would load up the car with these massive files and bring a cart to get them from the parking lot to the hospital. We were often unable to get the files to the provider until the day of Joe’s appointment due to the long drive. Since the care team could not review Joe’s records in advance, we had to become historians condensing and relaying years of medical history during appointments. Joe’s records were so massive that important information would be lost. He’d be given wrong meds or orders for procedures that he could not complete due to having a defibrillator implanted in his chest…”

“Because of our experience, I leaped at the opportunity to support the electronic health record (EHR) modernization programs underway at VA and the Department of Defense (DoD), which will ensure a lifetime of seamless care for service members, veterans and their caregivers. They have the opportunity to eliminate paper records; to streamline transfer of important health information between medical facilities; to drastically reduce the risk of medical or patient error due to info lost in transit from one facility to the other; to increase physicians’ ability to adequately review patient history and improve the care experience for their patients…” Read the full article here.

Source: Why electronic health records modernization gives this veteran caregiver hope – By Lori Ward, November 5, 2019. Military Times.

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