Yesterday we introduced you to the new edition of our colleague Phil Longman's book on the VA, "Best Care Anywhere." Today we wanted to look at one specific example of VA care, tying in electronic medical records and chronic disease management. The VA's pathfinding use of its VistA health IT system also helps doctors avoid errors, and track treatment. For instance, doctors are able to track a patient on chemo's blood count with a simple click on the screen. In the example we're excerpting here, Dr. Ross Fletcher, "an avuncular white-haired cardiologist," hits a key on his laptop, and pulls up the medical records of an 87-year old veteran living just outside Washington.
Up pops a chart showing a daily record of his fluctuating weight over a several-month period. The data for this chart, Dr. Fletcher explains, flow automatically from a special scale the patient uses in his home that sends a wireless signal to a modem.
Why is the chart important? Because it played a key role, Fletcher explains, in helping him to make a difficult diagnosis.