Around the Web: Department of Veterans Affairs Begins Digitization Project

MARA Blog

Published: June 28, 2017 by Anna Maloney

For the past few years, it seems that every time I go to the doctor’s office, I’m asked to fill out a form consenting to the substitution of my paper medical record with an electronic one.

As more and more healthcare providers go paperless and adopt new technologies for scheduling appointments and communicating with patients (does anyone else get constant e-mails and postcards about MyChart?!), the healthcare industry has become a leader in embracing the future of information management and all of its applications. But for many patients, there are still years of medical history filed away on shelves and in boxes, waiting to see the light of day. The latest government agency to adopt a massive digitization project is the Department of Veteran’s Affairs. The agency “is undertaking a major modernization effort to digitize millions of old inactive paper records with the goal of reducing processing times for disability claims.” A recent article in Information Management, an online magazine covering the latest in RIM technology and data management, describes the project and its major benefits. First, and most importantly, it will decrease the amount of time veterans have to wait to receive payment on disability claims. Second, digitization will end up saving the VA $150 million over 10 years, in large part due to decreased storage costs. And although it is not mentioned in the article, providing better service and decreasing the operating budget may go a long way in improving the administration’s reputation with veterans and the wider population.