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Bono to DHITS: Use health IT to better serve patients

Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director, Defense Health Agency, speaks at the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium, July 25, in Orlando, Florida. The three-day meeting brings together more than 2,000 information technology professionals, health care providers, and administrators who use IT solutions to better serve patients. Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director, Defense Health Agency, speaks at the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium, July 25, in Orlando, Florida. The three-day meeting brings together more than 2,000 information technology professionals, health care providers, and administrators who use IT solutions to better serve patients.

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The Military Health System has a large set of stakeholders, all with important interests and objectives. While the mechanics of it might seem complex, it comes down to a simple question for providers: Are they taking care of the people and their families? Part of that answer comes in the form of health information technology.

“Health IT is one of the foundational enterprise support activities,” said Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director, Defense Health Agency. “There is not another support function that touches everything we do.”

(From left to right): Army Brig. Gen. Ronald Stephens, deputy chief of staff for support, U.S. Army Medical Command; Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director Defense Health Agency; Navy Rear Adm. Terry Moulton, deputy Surgeon General, deputy chief, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; and Air Force Maj. Gen. Roosevelt Allen, director, Medical Operations and Research, and chief of the Dental Corps, Office of the Air Force Surgeon General.(From left to right): Army Brig. Gen. Ronald Stephens, deputy chief of staff for support, U.S. Army Medical Command; Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director Defense Health Agency; Navy Rear Adm. Terry Moulton, deputy Surgeon General, deputy chief, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; and Air Force Maj. Gen. Roosevelt Allen, director, Medical Operations and Research, and chief of the Dental Corps, Office of the Air Force Surgeon General.

Bono spoke to attendees at the Defense Health Information Technology Symposium, July 25, in Orlando, Florida. The three-day meeting titled “One Team, One Mission - Creating Our Future Together” brings together more than 2,000 information technology professionals, health care providers, and administrators who make use of IT solutions to better serve patients. Bono urged attendees to use the capabilities of her agency to support patient care.

Health IT serves invaluable functions in the Military Health System, she said, helping to improve critical support for medical surveillance, logistics, TRICARE, and access to care. “Health IT is providing us with more real-time information to better manage patient care,” said Bono. “Combined with an enterprise approach to cybersecurity, the Military Health System can be a national leader of more connected and interoperable health care.”

Bono also reflected on some of the lessons learned from the early rollout in the Pacific Northwest of MHS GENESIS, the new electronic health record for the Military Health System. “Patients want more connectivity. They intuitively understood how to use the new patient portals even before we were formally communicating about them. This tells us the interest and demand is there,” she said.

Bono was joined on stage by Army Brig. Gen. Ronald Stephens, deputy chief of staff for support, U.S. Army Medical Command; Navy Rear Adm. Terry Moulton, deputy Surgeon General, deputy chief, Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery; and Air Force Maj. Gen. Roosevelt Allen, director, Medical Operations and Research, and chief of the Dental Corps, Office of the Air Force Surgeon General, during a panel discussion on how to better integrate IT systems across the services’ health care functions.

While there are many issues facing the military’s health IT community right now – patients wanting better access to information, the MHS securing that information, and DoD rolling out MHS GENESIS – Bono encouraged the audience to remember why they serve.

“In this complex world of health care, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the number of stakeholders who are relying on you to keep all of this running safely and securely,” she said. “But keep your focus on our principal stakeholder: the patients we serve.”

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