DOD: AHLTA on schedule for full deployment

The Defense Department's Web-based, health information system is on track and will be fully deployed by the end of the year, officials said.

The Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA) will finish Block 1 of its global deployment to all of the military facilities in December. AHLTA has the ability to move data across DOD's entire health care system, according to William Winkenwerder, assistant Defense secretary for health affairs.

Blocks 2 and 3, which will integrate dental, pharmacy and clinical records, will be finished and deployed by 2011.

'Our goal ultimately is to involve our patients more deeply in managing their own care,' said Winkenwerder today at a military medicine press event in Washington. He added that DOD and the Veterans Affairs Department are leading the government's drive towards building an electronic health record, consistent with President Bush's recent executive order to promote transparent and high-quality health care.

AHLTA is 'highly scaleable' and able to link to handhelds like the Battlefield Medical Information System-Tactical (BMIST), Winkenwerder added. BMIST is the DOD's main handheld system supporting military health surveillance missions on the battlefield.

Over the next year to two, BMIST will be rolling out a speech capability application on the handheld and implementing electronic dog tags, which includes a soldier's entire medical record. Currently, 13,500 of the prototype dog tags are in use in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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