DoD, VA to use scanning technology to speed disability claims

The U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have created a technology to help the latter expedite disability claims decisions and reduce the backlog of pending claims, according to an American Forces Press Service article.

The technology, called the Health Artifact and Image Management Solution (HAIMS), makes certified military service treatment records "automatically" available to the VA, according to the article.

"We recognized DoD needed to assist the VA by providing additional data on the benefits side, so we put teams together and they came up with the solution [to] generate an electronic service treatment record document," David M. Bowen, director of health information technology at the Defense Health Agency, said.

The technology is not an interoperable electronic health record system; rather, it is a repository with scanning capability that produces a digitized record from the DoD's EHR, which the VA retrieves.

The VA had cut its backlog of pending claims by 20 percent over a six-month span in 2013, but still has a backlog of 400,000 claims.

A veterans' organization has called for an interoperable EHR system--not merely a joint integrated one--in order to reduce the backlog even further.

DoD and VA had been working for years to integrate their EHRs but abandoned that plan in February 2013. Each has taken separate steps in recent weeks to upgrade their own systems. Funding legislation had required that DoD and VA present a plan to create an interoperable or single EHR to Congress by the end of January.

To learn more:
- read the article