The Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs are creating a joint electronic medical record system to allow the two departments to share administrative and medical information, President Obama announced Thursday.
The Joint Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record project will track soldiers' lifelong medical histories beginning the day they enter service.
"Currently there is no comprehensive system in place that allows for a streamlined transition," Obama said. "That results in extraordinary hardship for an awful lot of veterans," such as lost records or delays in processing disability claims.
The VA is currently grappling with a six-month backlog in disability claims.
"This would represent a huge step towards modernizing the way health care is delivered...for our veterans," Obama said, noting that the system would follow the "strictest and most rigorous standards of privacy and security."
The new system would also represent a shift in health care services the president has pushed for all Americans. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act allocated about $19 billion for the digitization of medical records. Electronic medical records is a burgeoning business for technology companies as they eye the digitization requirements hospitals and doctors' offices will soon be expected to meet.
Both the VA and the DOD, it was also announced this week, will be participating in Connect, an open-source gateway between multiple federal organizations and the proposed national health information network.