Close the Gaps on VA Healthcare Services

Bernie Monegain | Healthcare IT News | August 3, 2012

The number of veterans returning home from the two wars wounded and maimed  -  broken  -  is staggering. Here's an area where health IT has proven to be a force for good, yet not forceful enough. The childhood sing-song rhyme that ends, "All the kings horses and all the king's men couldn't put Humpty Dumpty together again" may not be quite on point, but it keeps playing in the background, a reminder that we humans are fragile.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), charged with providing patient care and federal benefits to veterans and their families, has been in the forefront of innovation and the use of  healthcare information technology to make a difference in patient care. There's the VA's highly touted VistA open-source EHR, multiple telemedicine programs, and a massive effort towards interoperability.

In his cover story this month, Mike Miliard provides example after example of what VA is doing to make a difference, how the agency is bringing its resources, brains and health information technology to bear on this daunting consequence of war. The casualties continue at home. Veterans deal with missing limbs, fractured skulls, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the pain takes its toll not only on the veterans who will never be truly themselves again, but also on their families and friends...