By Lt. j.g. Brendan Good, MSC, patient administration, Naval Health Clinic Quantico
The creation of the Defense Health Agency (DHA) and the tri-service focus of military medicine in the 21st century have brought changes relating to the management of electronic health records (EHR).
Assisting with the transition is Health Artifact Image Management Solution (HAIMS) which interfaces with Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA).
The joint work of many stakeholders, HAIMS serves to improve the delivery, continuity and effectiveness of military medicine, regardless of service or location of military treatment facility (MTF).
As the test site for the implementation of HAIMS, Naval Health Clinic Quantico (NHCQ) staff underwent significant training and worked closely with staff at the Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED) and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). Super users, those staff with more in depth training and greater responsibility, were designated within each department at NHCQ and will continue to assist with training and trouble shooting for other staff.
To assist NHCQ with scanning medical records, BUMED supplied a high-capacity scanner capable of reading more than 200 sheets per minute. The scanner is also ergonomically friendly, able to accommodate staff members sitting or standing during its operation. Employees still need to prepare medical records by removing staples and paperclips; however the scanner is fast, efficient and accurate in creating a digital image from paper copies. Once records are scanned, computer software allows for imperfections to be removed from each image, further enhancing the quality of the artifact.
July 28, 2013 was selected as the kick-off meeting with BUMED and NHCQ staff and contractors. This meeting outlined an aggressive unfurling process, including training, testing, implementation, evaluation and sustainment. The entire implementation of HAIMS will be completed early in 2014 and the conversion to electronic format will begin shortly afterward. Since the plan of action of generated over the summer, NHCQ has hosted several training, planning and testing sessions including staff and many other stakeholders to work through the process and streamline the adoption of HAIMS.
NHCQ is looking forward to being able to fully utilize HAIMS in order to improve care in several ways. First, providers will be able to access imaging and records, improving continuity of care for patients moving between military treatment facilities around the world. Second, by limiting the amount of paper records present, there will be a decreased opportunity for HIPAA-related privacy violations to occur. Last, medical records no longer need to be hand carried or mailed to and will assist the service member when they change duty stations. NHCQ is excited and encouraged to play such an active role in the continuing transition of military medicine in the 21st century.