Standardization Across the Military Health System

Military Health System Team,

The need for standardization across the Military Health System is vital to our strength and efficiency as we meet our mission and move forward to provide world-class health care to our Service members and beneficiaries.

After more than a decade of war, we have seen that health care across the MHS has become increasingly joint in nature across the Services, signaling the need for standardized processes and technology so we can continue to meet our mission. The MHS has noted that demand signal and have answered the call.   

The MHS and the Department of Defense (DoD) continue to standardize health care across the Services  through technology, such as the electronic health record; information management/ information technology (IM/IT) governance; financial and resource management; and clinical processes. Great successes have been achieved in combat medicine and in our garrison-based care system back home when we operate as an integrated system with standardized care.

The implementation of the electronic health record across the Services is a crucial facet of standardization and patient-centered care. To meet this need, systems analysts across the Services are working together on the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) DoD Non Active Duty Family Member Health Data Sharing Working Group which aims to develop a standard DoD Policy for sharing family member health data in VLER Health. VLER Health is a multi-faceted business and technology initiative that includes a portfolio of health, benefits, personnel, and administrative information sharing capabilities. It provides Veterans, Service members, their families, care-givers, and service providers with a single source of information for health and benefits needs in a way that is secure and authorized by the Veteran or Service member.

Another way in which the MHS is standardizing care across the enterprise is through the Information Management/Information Technology (IM/IT) Governance Process. Aligned with the Joint Governance Process, this enhanced process is being designed to reduce the time from initial request to governance disposition. This change also includes a closer alignment of functional managers, project managers, and requestors across the services in support of IT systems requests throughout the lifecycle of projects, as well as higher transparency, clearer accountability, and integrated capability-based portfolio management.

In order to provide standardization in finance and logistics across the MHS, standard operating procedures (SOPs) are being used across the Services to become ready for financial audits by 2014. The SOPs standardize all finance and logistics procedures which use resources and ensure that transactions are documented and use appropriate internal controls. This ensures the MHS is on track to meet readiness gates established by the DoD. The SOPs are role-based and user friendly, so new users or supervisors can use them effectively and sustain audit requirements while staying on mission.

As we move forward, the MHS will continue to meet the need for standardization across health care capabilities and governing structures. We will continue to work together diligently to meet this demand signal – from the battlefield to our military treatment facilities worldwide.

Sincerely,

Jonathan Woodson, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs

Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho, Surgeon General, United States Army

Vice Adm. Matthew Nathan, Surgeon General, United States Navy

Lt. Gen. Thomas Travis, Surgeon General, United States Air Force