The Ability of Military Health Systems Applications to Coordinate Combat Casualty Care

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On February 23, 2007, Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said, “Our nation is truly blessed that so many talented and patriotic young people have stepped forward to serve. They deserve the very best facilities and care to recuperate from their injuries and ample assistance to navigate the next step in their lives, and that is what we intend to give them. Apart from the war itself, this department and I have no higher priority” (p. el). Veterans and active duty Armed Forces personnel operate in a complex continuum that often requires being in harm's way to perform their duties. In doing so, their injuries encountered can be complex. Caring for those with more common injuries, such as injuries to the extremities (30% to 39.6%), is difficult; caring for those with less common injuries, such as genitourinary (0.5% to 8%), takes on an added level of complexity (Fisher, 2009). A complete picture of the injury can only be gained by visualizing their entire record of care. Traditionally, members of the health care team have not been able to link the episodes of care together seamlessly, preventing the ability to see the entire picture. The electronic health record enables better continuity of care and enhances quality (Menachemi, 2008). The availability of a system to document health care provided in austere environments and connect these data with care provided in tertiary military medical care centers using records available throughout the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) will enhance the care provided. Members of the Department of Defense, the VHA, and private sector organizations are collaborating to provide world-class seamless health care. Although the end goal of a completely integrated record has not been reached, the advent of several recent initiatives has placed military health care firmly on the track to reach those goals.

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