Can we fix our military medical records?

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Can we fix our military medical records?

[cap­tion id=”” align=“aligncenter” width=“1024”] MILLING­TON, Tenn. (May 28, 2015) Hos­pi­tal Corps­man 3rd Class Ben­jamin Payne received a retir­ing Sailors med­ical record at Naval Branch Health Clinic, Naval Sup­port Activ­ity (NSA) Mid-​South. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Spe­cial­ist 2nd Class Christo­pher Marshall/​Released)[/​caption]

Twice a year, the Navy makes it’s Sailors take a phys­i­cal fit­ness test. Once a year, the Navy makes it’s Sailors go through a bat­tery of med­ical checks to ensure it won’t have Sailors drop dead dur­ing this test. Pretty straight forward.

Except when you move to a new com­mand, which Navy Sailors do on aver­age every 3 years. In my case, I moved over a month ago. I wasn’t per­mit­ted to hand carry my med­ical records (that’s too dan­ger­ous!!), so instead I gave the med­ical peo­ple a form so that they could request my records be trans­ferred to them. If it sounds anti­quated to you, you’re not the only one.

But it gets worse.

It’s been over a month, and no record. None. That med­ical check the Navy does for phys­i­cal fit­ness? Can’t com­plete it with­out a record. Tech­ni­cally, if I don’t com­plete it, I auto­mat­i­cally fail the phys­i­cal fit­ness test. So instead of being able to knock out a require­ment and move on to more impor­tant things, I’m hav­ing to swing by the clinic once a week to see if they have my record.

(Side note: My com­mand is aware and won’t let me fail over a silly admin­is­tra­tive issue)

Our Chief of Staff held an all-​hands meet­ing, and I raised the issue there. To my sur­prise, three other Sailors said they had the same prob­lem. One hadn’t seen her med­ical record in a year. Our Com­mand Mas­ter Chief is try­ing to do some­thing about it, but I don’t know how much she can fix.

When Pres­i­dent Trump announced he wanted to improve med­ical record inter­op­er­abil­ity, as well as push­ing to get to 100% elec­tronic records, I was ecsta­tic. Mov­ing records back and forth is a big issue for mil­i­tary mem­bers. It just plainly sucks, and the ser­vice lead­ers have done a ter­ri­ble job in fix­ing the issues. If you want to make mil­i­tary mem­bers smile, improv­ing the rou­tine med­ical vis­its we have to make would be a good start.

Fix­ing the med­ical record prob­lem on the civil­ian side is good too. We pay too much for health care, and a big part is the admin­is­tra­tive bur­den in record keep­ing, code enter­ing and the like. Cut­ting those costs gets doc­tors back to focus­ing on patients and what they love and away from the admin­is­tra­tive headaches that only truly evil bureau­crats enjoy foist­ing on the rest of us.

In the words of a great per­son, faster please!


This post rep­re­sents the views of the author and not those of the Depart­ment of Defense, Depart­ment of the Navy, or any other gov­ern­ment agency. But it would be GREAT if the DoD held my above view and fixed our med­ical record prob­lems.

Did you donate to Da Tech Guy?

Did you sub­scribe yet?

Or buy his book? Hail Mary the Per­fect Protes­tant (and Catholic) Prayer

Because if not…what are you wait­ing for?

MILLINGTON, Tenn. (May 28, 2015) Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Benjamin Payne received a retiring Sailors medical record at Naval Branch Health Clinic, Naval Support Activity (NSA) Mid-South. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Marshall/Released)

Twice a year, the Navy makes it’s Sailors take a physical fitness test. Once a year, the Navy makes it’s Sailors go through a battery of medical checks to ensure it won’t have Sailors drop dead during this test. Pretty straight forward.

Except when you move to a new command, which Navy Sailors do on average every 3 years. In my case, I moved over a month ago. I wasn’t permitted to hand carry my medical records (that’s too dangerous!!), so instead I gave the medical people a form so that they could request my records be transferred to them. If it sounds antiquated to you, you’re not the only one.

But it gets worse.

It’s been over a month, and no record. None. That medical check the Navy does for physical fitness? Can’t complete it without a record. Technically, if I don’t complete it, I automatically fail the physical fitness test. So instead of being able to knock out a requirement and move on to more important things, I’m having to swing by the clinic once a week to see if they have my record.

(Side note: My command is aware and won’t let me fail over a silly administrative issue)

Our Chief of Staff held an all-hands meeting, and I raised the issue there. To my surprise, three other Sailors said they had the same problem. One hadn’t seen her medical record in a year. Our Command Master Chief is trying to do something about it, but I don’t know how much she can fix.

When President Trump announced he wanted to improve medical record interoperability, as well as pushing to get to 100% electronic records, I was ecstatic. Moving records back and forth is a big issue for military members. It just plainly sucks, and the service leaders have done a terrible job in fixing the issues. If you want to make military members smile, improving the routine medical visits we have to make would be a good start.

Fixing the medical record problem on the civilian side is good too. We pay too much for health care, and a big part is the administrative burden in record keeping, code entering and the like. Cutting those costs gets doctors back to focusing on patients and what they love and away from the administrative headaches that only truly evil bureaucrats enjoy foisting on the rest of us.

In the words of a great person, faster please!


This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency. But it would be GREAT if the DoD held my above view and fixed our medical record problems.

Did you donate to Da Tech Guy?

Did you subscribe yet?

Or buy his book? Hail Mary the Perfect Protestant (and Catholic) Prayer

Because if not…what are you waiting for?