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Military Looks to EHR to Connect Health System

Digital health records

Last fall the U.S. Military unveiled AHLTA, the electronic health record (EHR) used for the Military Health System (MHS). Because it is a model of how to make interoperable electronic health records available to each American, the Department of Defense (DoD) showcased the system at HIMSS 2006 this week along with other systems that can interact with it.

AHLTA has global reach and is planned to be fully deployed by December 2006, at which time it will allow MHS health records to be accessed worldwide at any military treatment facility. As of January 2006, the AHLTA Clinical Data Repository already contained 7.4 million beneficiary records, pre-populated with 25 months of laboratory, anatomic pathology, pharmacy, and radiology data from MHS legacy systems for MHS beneficiaries.

Interestingly, the system is patient-centric and not facility-based, thus gathers patient information from facilities around the world into a single, durable record readily available to authorized healthcare providers at the click of a mouse. Using this electronic method, more than 165,500 potentially life-threatening drug interactions have been identified and resolved, the DoD said.

AHLTA is also highly scalable and able to connect to a handheld electronic device operated by a medic who is recording information on an injured or sick Service member anywhere in the world.

AHLTA's program manager Army Col. Vic Eilenfield said of the system, "Providing continuity of care is a challenge to our providers who serve our highly mobile beneficiaries, AHLTA makes care continuity a reality by ensuring beneficiaries have a complete single record that can be accessible at any military treatment facility."

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