Bringing Electronic Health Records Online

The Air Force is preparing to implement the new electronic health record, which will be a “huge benefit” to patients and give providers better access to data, Air Force Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Mark Ediger said Tuesday. The first site in the service to use it will be the medical group at Fairchild AFB, Wash., which will be an operational test site that will go live in December, Ediger said. It will take about four and a half years to completely implement the system at every Air Force base, in part because it has to be done one installation at a time, but it will advance the way the service provides care, he said. Additionally, the Air Force has entered into a series of strategic partnerships, including 48 agreements with VAs across the country to provide specialty care for VA patients that need it. “This gives our surgeons and critical care staff a greater mix of care to provide, it helps provide good access to specialty care for those veterans we serve, and we also are able to provide that care at a savings to the government,” Ediger said. Those partnerships, as well as agreements with trauma centers and other hospitals, help surgeons and others maintain the skills necessary for deployment, he noted. (See previously: Toward Seamless Health Care.)