Computer net collects patient data at pulse-pounding rate
How is the Department of Veterans Affairs' computerized medical records program progressing?
Answer:The VA's computerized patient record system recently achieved a milestone with the entry of its billionth "vital sign." Vital signs -- data such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, weight or pain levels -- are routinely recorded for all VA patients. The nationwide system, known as VistA, collects more than 80,000 vital signs per hour during busy times, and the 995 vital signs entered in one minute on April 19 pushed the total more than 1 billion. VA began storing that information electronically on Aug. 13, 1990. No matter where or when a patient receives care within the VA, complete records are available to health care providers throughout the system.
Q:What does the VA do in the area of research and development?
A:VA's research program was developed as part of the post-World War II effort to enhance patient care by affiliating VA medical centers with medical schools. The VA research program consists of: biomedical laboratory research and development service that conducts biomedical studies on the causes, development, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases prevalent among veterans; rehabilitation service that promotes research designed to maximize independence for patients; health services that examines the impact of organization, management, and financing of health care services on the delivery, quality, cost and outcomes of care; and clinical science service that conducts multihospital, randomized clinical trials for new medical therapies.
This year Congress approved $412 million for VA research and development. More than $800 million will be contributed to VA research from other government and non-government sources. Today, VA supports studies by more than 3,800 scientists at 115 VA facilities across the country including the VA Medical Clinic at Tripler.
If you have questions about your benefits as a veteran, call Fred Ballard at the Veterans Affairs at 433-0049 or visit the VA Web site at www.va.gov/hawaii
or the Star-Bulletin at 529-4747.