APR 4, 2012 4:38pm ET

Supporting Our Troops with Health I.T.: Too Little, Too Late


Support the troops! That’s a heartfelt phrase often heard during the past decade.

Most often, it is shouted the loudest by three groups: Those who call themselves more patriotic than you but demand lower taxes during a time of war and don’t mind soldiers on third, fourth or fifth tours as long as it’s not their kids; the military which sent troops to Afghanistan without body armor, didn’t introduce the first adequately armored transport vehicles until five years into conflict, and early on actually billed wounded soldiers for their initial treatment in Germany; and members of Congress who scream if non-essential weapons systems are on the chopping block but can’t be bothered about armor and billing soldiers …

Now, the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are trumpeting their agreement to build a unified electronic health records system, an agreement a decade too late and a complete EHR still four to six years away.

More than 47,000 troops have been wounded in Afghanistan and Iraq and not one of them has had a single, complete medical record as they went through field hospitals, stabilization hospitals, statewide hospitals and rehabilitation. That was not remotely a priority for Defense and VA.

Support the troops!

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