Military health records project set to expand

A Defense Department pilot program designed for easy access to medical files could propel government and military recordkeeping into the 21st century. The MiCare personal health records program, having undergone successful testing at Madigan Army Medical Center in Tacoma, Wash., has received the go-ahead light for expansion, and DOD officials hope it will provide a “virtual lifetime electronic record” for service members.

“We have all this information we need to push out," said Chuck Campbell, chief information officer of DOD’s Military Health System. "We have newer ways of doing business, and it’s important to capture all the information on every patient, no matter where they go – from the roadside to the military facility." Campbell was speaking July 21 at the Open Government Innovations conference in Washington.

Campbell said he envisions a system for use by members of military and their families that will include personal medical history, benefits and other components like eligibility and personnel records. Eventually, there could be a single repository for DOD recordkeeping and departmentwide access, though “with 50,000 visitors a day to a single database, security is certainly a concern” to be addressed, Campbell said.

Security will be a top priority in further development of the program, which is a joint effort between DOD, the Veterans Affairs Department,  Microsoft and Google. The Internet-based MiCare program marks the first time government information is stored outside of internal government systems, which Campbell attributed to costs and timeliness as well as evolution of technology.

“That’s where we’re headed, and we’re going to make this better through distributed development,” including multilateral collaboration and experimenting with Web 2.0 capabilities, Campbell said.

Marian Cherry, special assistant to the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, agreed that cooperation and accessibility are both key to such a project’s success. “We need to make this information available in order to act as a community, as a virtual warfighter,” she said.

Federal Computer Week's owner, the 1105 Government Information Group, sponsors the conference.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

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