8/17/2006 - SAN ANTONIO (AFPN) -- Medical troops throughout the Air Force soon will be using the Department of Defense's global electronic health record system to keep track of patient records.
The Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application, known as AHLTA, is the largest system of its kind, defense officials said. The system will go online at the military's 800 clinics and 70 hospitals by the end of December, officials said.
At Yokota Air Base, Japan, hospital members will start training to use the system in mid-September. They will be ready to use it at the end of October.
After a year of sorting, documenting and filing often-heavy medical records the old way, Senior Airman Michaela Simms cannot wait for the change to take place. A year of doing the job has taken its toll.
"It takes lot to try and reach up to the top (of a shelf) and bend down to file medical records and locate someone's paperwork," the Airman said.
The electronic system has the potential to serve more than 9 million servicemembers, retirees and their families, defense officials said. Once on line, some 60,000 military healthcare professionals around the globe can access medical records.
The long term vision is to be able to update digital medical records from the first care provided patients on the battlefield to their stateside care facilities, defense officials said. They expect that to be possible within the next three years.