Veterans Affairs to revamp how it stores veterans' health information

PHOTO: Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin speaks at the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, June 5, 2017.PlayAndrew Harnik/AP Photo
WATCH Veterans Affairs to revamp how it stores health records

The Department of Veterans Affairs is updating how it stores veterans' electronic health records by adopting the same record-keeping system as the Department of Defense.

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“The adoption of the same system between VA and DOD is going to allow all patient data to reside in a common system so you will have the seamless link between the departments without the manual or electronic exchange of information,” VA Secretary David Shulkin told reporters Monday.

Shulkin said the move will ultimately allow the VA to deliver better, more efficient care to veterans.

"Having an electronic health record that can follow a veteran during the course of his health and treatment is one of the most important things I believe you can do to ensure the safety and the health and wellbeing of a veteran. So that's why this is so important," he said.

Shulkin credited President Donald Trump's leadership with the difference that’s allowed the VA to move forward with this decision months into the new administration.

“While in the last administration we considered this and we looked at a number of things, I think it really was this administration and the president's mandate to do business differently that allowed us to move forward with this type of speed,” he said.

Congress needs to approve the costs associated with adopting the new records keeping system. Shulkin expressed optimism that the move would gain the needed support.

"We've already begun to engage, starting today, with the appropriations leadership in both the Senate and the House. And I will tell you that this is something that Congress has been asking for. I believe that they will support this," he said.