Having just returned from a deployment to Afghanistan the Army and I believe sister services require upon re-deployment a post deployment health assessment or PDHA. Weeks later we are required to conduct a self reassessment of ourselves digitally through the online medical electronic health record system, MEDPROS as directed by our chain of command.

Most Soldiers don’t care too much for the medical processing which is done immediately upon redeployment but it is an important part for long term health care and identifying issues. This is especially important for anyone who was involved directly in a combat scenario ie. IED blast, large explosion, gunfire etc. While it is true that a majority of those who deploy will never actually see any sort of direct combat, those who do are exposed to some rather unnatural things. Afghanistan for example is not by any means a clean place. The air quality alone in the nation can put the worst smog in America to shame as most Afghani’s burn every and all forms of waste.

For the Army, tracking digitally at the individual level is done in my opinion well through MEDPROS where a Soldier can view his or her medical status, records and pull any pertinent data for their own purposes or to reference what is missing from any paper files. This is a pretty important system considering how much travelling an individual Soldier can do in the course of a few years to bases where individual clinics may provide different services to you and for those injured overseas.

For a retiree or a Veteran, the system moving into place is also aiming to streamline the medical records process. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Department of Defense (DOD) are becoming more and more in sync with each other in the age of true information sharing.  This week the DOD and VA lifted some regulations which impeded the ability to share some personal medical history between the two departments. Which will enable better care for those suffering from among other medical issues, alcohol and drug abuse.  Former Army Chief of Staff and now secretary of the VA Eric Shinseki was quoted this week saying “VA and DOD clinicians must have the most accurate and comprehensive data available to ensure they provide the highest quality care possible…we have discovered that, particularly in this age of electronic health records, this regulatory restriction created an impediment to maximizing this exchange of information.”

These strides will help ensure personal accountability by both Departments as the Military and VA  move into the next decades in providing the best possible care and proper electronic medical documentation of those who have served.

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