Secretary of VA calls for overhaul of organization’s medical records system

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — There could be big changes coming to how the VA keeps its medical records.

In Washington Monday, the secretary of Veterans Affairs announced the department will overhaul its system for electronic health records. 

Coming on the heels of last week’s report on the state of VA health care, Secretary David Shulkin said he is setting his sights on upgrading the VA’s e-record system.

San Diego veteran Art Dioli said he’s had good experiences with his VA care, but not all vets would make the same claim. With a pledge to improve the quality of patient care and reduce wait times, the head of the VA is pushing for a number of reforms, including a change in the system the VA uses for medical records.

Doctor Ted Mazer is the acting president of the California Medical Association. 

As a private doctor, Dr. Mazer said it’s a burden to try to obtain a patient’s medical records from the VA.

As a first step, the VA secretary wants to put the VA’s record system on the same platform as the one used by the Pentagon for active duty members, so that both systems can share patient records. 

Dr. Mazer uses the term "inter-operability."

A more ambitious goal is to allow the VA to exchange information with systems outside the military network, with hospitals, academic partners and community providers like Dr. Mazer.

The head of the local VA in San Diego, Dr. Robert Smith, declined KUSI’s request for comment, but a spokesperson said he did not know enough y et about the secretary’s proposal.

Neither does Congress. Congressional lawmakers have not received a funding request for the change and Secretary Shulkin did not reveal how much this overhaul will cost.

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