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Most VA, DoD Health Records Aren't Accurate


Last updated 6/7/2022 at 3:53pm | View PDF

It can be a big problem when you need medical care and the electronic health records sent from one provider to another contain inaccuracies. Unfortunately, a Department of Defense Inspector General audit showed this is happening in far too many active-duty and veterans records.

After sending surveys to 7,387 health care providers in late 2020 asking about their ability to access health care information for both DoD and Department of Veterans Affairs patients and whether that information was accurate, the DoD recently reported that:

— 91.2% of DoD patient records were inaccurate or incomplete.

— 67.5% of VA patient records were inaccurate or incomplete.

— 93.9% said that it impacted patient care, including giving an inaccurate or incomplete diagnosis.

The inaccurate or missing information included problems and conditions, lab results, medications and much more.

Over at the VA, they’ve known for a long time that they needed to upgrade their 40-year-old computer system and proposed to merge with the DoD’s system. That got started in 2018. They would begin with one facility as a test.

In 2020, the VA Office of the Inspector General was tasked with finding out one overriding answer: Is it all going well at the test site before they open the system at the 174 VA medical centers, as well as the 1,577 other sites?

The answer, in a word, no.

The ill-timed pandemic no doubt kept most workers at home, especially in the beginning. But they’ve made progress. Just recently, the VA brought online its third site with the new system to track and store patient data.

Thoughts: Keep track of your records ... and whether they’re accurate. Carry a 3x5 card in your wallet listing your drugs and dosages, conditions and surgeries. When you go to a medical appointment at a VA facility, ask for verification that their records are correct. The last thing you need in an emergency is for your medical records to be inaccurate.

(c) 2022 King Features Synd., Inc.


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