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New Electronic Health Record System Coming to Keesler Medical Center

By Capt. DiAnna Calvin 81st Surgical Operations Squadron

AHLTA is the new electronic health record system for Keesler Medical Center beneficiaries.  It is the largest electronic health record system of its kind and is leading the way in health care management. 

AHLTA replaces the current paper-based system with a permanent computer-based patient record.  It will provide 24/7 access by authorized providers and staff to the patient’s medical/health record throughout the Department of Defense’s Military Health System.  The new system will enhance health-care delivery from the time a patient checks-in to check-out to include vitals, wellness and screening, physician encounter and patient education, all documented electronically. 

The DoD partnered with leading information technology companies to create the new, unique system.  By “computerizing” all health records, the DoD reduces health-care costs, avoids dangerous medical mistakes and improves overall medical care through accountability. 

An electronic health record is the most efficient way for providers to access information regarding patients’ prescriptions, medical histories, diagnostic tests, treatment plans, surgical procedures and any other essential information needed to provide the best quality health care.  The system will even alert providers about possible drug allergies and drug interactions and will offer wellness reminders for their patients.  Implementation of the AHLTA system is helping meet President Bush’s goal of having interoperable electronic health records available to the majority of Americans by 2014. 

AHLTA is a proactive system.  It provides critical information allowing health-care providers to discover disease outbreaks and intervene early in targeted populations.  In an average week, worldwide AHLTA will support 2.1 million prescriptions, 1.8 million outpatient visits and 400,000 dental procedures for military members, retirees and their families.  When fully deployed, AHLTA will support 9.2 million TRICARE beneficiaries. 

The new system could be the difference between life and death when seconds matter and will redefine the entire health-care delivery experience due to its secure, patient-centered data-entry design.

“AHLTA allows medical records to be available to doctors anytime, anywhere in the world,” explained Capt. (Dr.) Adrian Letz, 81st Medical Operations Squadron, the 81st Medical Group AHLTA project officer.  “We don’t have to worry about records not making it to appointments, and patients know that when they see a new doctor, the physician has the necessary information.”

Each provider will have a computer to access in every office, treatment and exam room.  In most cases, instead of writing information provided by patients into their paper records, providers will now input the information directly into the computerized electrical records as the patient answers the providers’ questions.      

Several different phases, or “blocks,” will be implemented during AHLTA training which begins on May 30.  Providers and hospital staff ask beneficiaries to be patient due to possible reduced access to care during the AHLTA transition. 

"During AHLTA implementation, our goal is to provide a seamless transition for our patients as we move towards an electronic medical-record system,” said Capt. Tera Carter, AHLTA information systems officer.  “As we prepare our medical staff for training, we anticipate this system will enhance the delivery of medical and dental treatment to our patients.  All clinical staff will attend mandatory training during June to ensure they use proper techniques to complete patient documentation.”

In the future, medical records will be constantly updated with critical information from the battlefield which can be forwarded to military facilities in the U.S.  This will be completely transferable electronically to Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers and will provide the most up-to-date, dependable health-care system in the world.

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