Unlocking Better Care Through Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization

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Learn how this revolutionary initiative can improve healthcare quality and access for you and your family.

The federal government is working to implement a single, integrated electronic health record system for agencies like the VA to improve care coordination and delivery. This effort aims to simplify healthcare through upgraded technology and enhanced data sharing across providers.

If you or a loved one has served our country, you know that navigating healthcare through the VA can be complicated. With so many doctors and facilities involved, important health information doesn’t always make it where it needs to go. But what if we told you there is an exciting new initiative to fix this problem?

The federal government is working to modernize electronic health records for veterans and other federal beneficiaries. This effort aims to improve care coordination and delivery through an integrated, easy-to-use system. 

What Exactly is the Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization Program?

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The Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization (FEHRM) program is an initiative to implement a single, common electronic health record system across federal agencies. The goal is to simplify and streamline healthcare for veterans, service members, and other federal health beneficiaries.

Right now, health records are fragmented across the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Department of Defense (DOD), and other agencies. This lack of coordination leads to repeat testing, missed diagnoses, medication errors, and delays in treatment. Not ideal!

Under the FEHRM program, agencies like the VA, DOD, U.S. Coast Guard, and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will transition to the same centralized network. This means your health history, test results, treatments, and more will be accessible to any of your care providers, no matter where you’re seen. Cool, right?

What Kind of Tools and Capabilities Will the New System Provide?

The modernized electronic health record system has some amazing features in the works to improve your care experience:

Enhanced Interoperability

With the new system, the VA, DOD, and community health partners can seamlessly share vital health data. This prevents information gaps when transitioning between providers.

Comprehensive Health Records

Your full medical history will be available in one place for a more complete picture of your health. No more carrying stacks of printed records between doctors!

Sophisticated Data Analytics

Your healthcare teams will have access to the latest tools to analyze health trends, identify risks, and provide more personalized care tailored to you.

Innovative Care Management

The system will enable proactive monitoring and interventions when health concerns arise. This supports better safety and outcomes.

What is the Current Status of the Federal EHR Modernization Effort?

This initiative is already well underway with over 194,000 users onboard across participating agencies:

  • The new system is active at VA facilities, military treatment centers, joint bases, and more.
  • Current priorities include managing deployment and training at joint VA/DOD sites, enhancing interoperability, and smoothing technology transitions.
  • User feedback is being incorporated to improve workflows and fix functionality issues.

Of course, with any huge IT overhaul, there have been some bumps in the road:

  • Training and change management have been challenging for many end-users.
  • Some technical problems have led to user frustration and lowered morale.
  • Response times to address system bugs and tickets need improvement.

Despite these temporary setbacks, the VA is working diligently to implement the new technology successfully. The benefits to veteran care are abundantly clear as kinks are worked out.

How Will Veterans Specifically Benefit from the Modernized System?

For our veterans, this new technology has immense potential to improve care quality and simplify navigating the VA healthcare system:

More Efficient Care

With interconnected records, you won’t have to repeat health information or tests every time you see a new VA provider. Appointments and procedures can happen more quickly.

Proactive Health Management

Your medical history can be analyzed to predict health risks and ensure you get appropriate screenings and preventive care. This is especially helpful for issues related to your service.

Enhanced Mental Health Treatment

By tracking your full health profile, risks like PTSD, depression, suicide ideation can be identified sooner and addressed through proactive interventions.

Reduced Substance Abuse

Integrated prescription drug monitoring will help minimize opioid abuse and “doctor shopping” for controlled medications.

How Does This Effort Fit Into the Bigger Picture of Healthcare Technology?

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The FEHRM program isn’t happening in isolation. It’s part of a larger move towards data integration and efficiency across both federal and private healthcare:

  • Leidos, an IT health services company, is working with the government to optimize EHR systems for interoperability and workflow.
  • The Military Health System GENESIS project similarly aims to connect the DOD, VA, and private providers via a centralized EHR.
  • The Indian Health Service is undergoing modernization to improve care for Native Americans through better records management.
  • Nationwide, hospitals and health systems are transitioning to cloud-based networks for better data sharing and analysis.

The FEHRM serves as a foundation for the future of healthcare technology innovation. As successes are proven, more advanced capabilities like telehealth, clinical decision support, and predictive analytics will continue evolving.

The Bottom Line for You and Your Family

At the end of the day, this about improving care for our nation’s veterans, service members, and federal health beneficiaries. With continued progress, the modernized EHR system will:

  • Give you fuller access and control over your health history.
  • Help your doctors coordinate your care more seamlessly.
  • Enable higher quality, more proactive care tailored to your needs.
  • Ultimately, provide you and your family with a better healthcare experience!

While the program continues rolling out, don’t hesitate to share any feedback with your VA providers so adjustments can be made. We’re all in this together to ensure the promise of technology aligns with the needs of patients!

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