The Department of Defense has embarked on an $11 billion project to modernize its much-criticized healthcare record system. The existing system supports medical and dental services for 9.6 million active-duty military personnel and their dependents, but doesn’t tap into the full potential of information-age technology to deliver comprehensive and timely information in life-threatening situations. Neither will its replacement, though, because the Pentagon’s program office for developing a new electronic health record architecture plans to buy an off-the-shelf, “state-of-the-market” enterprise software system. These systems have become commonplace in private-sector healthcare, but they are hugely expensive and often impede the sharing of vital information due to lack of interoperability. The Pentagon needs to slow the program until it understands the difference between current, antiquated practices in the healthcare field and the medical-information needs of future warfighters. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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