The Military Healthcare System (MHS) is average in many areas but not when it comes to electronic secure messaging, a recently released 90-day review revealed.
The review of the healthcare system has brought the attention of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who says the military cannot accept average and ordered improvements in access to and quality of care and patient safety. The report revealed that MHS is in many ways similar to non-government healthcare provider organizations. Essentially, there is some good, some bad, and a lot of gaps in care. Specifically, the 600-page report said that the MHS suffers from a gap in analyzing health data for decision making.
However, it wasn't all negative. The report spotlighted MHS' use of secure messaging between patients and physicians. The health system has used RelayHealth (a McKesson product) for its messaging system since 2010. More than one million beneficiaries in the MHS system use it, in some capacity, although only approximately one-in-ten use it regularly. Ninety-seven percent who use it regularly are satisfied with it and 86 percent said it saved them for going to the doctor's office or the emergency department. The secure messaging has been approved by doctors as well, who say it frees up appointments.
The report's authors recommended full implementation of the secure messaging system. For their part, MHS is charging an advisory board with figuring out ways to build in 80 minutes of virtual appointments into a physician's schedule.