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Home News Bono to HIMSS: Military mission different than civilians but care is often the same

Bono to HIMSS: Military mission different than civilians but care is often the same

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While people in the military obviously have different jobs than their civilian counterparts, how and why they get medical treatment for themselves and their families are quite similar.

“Healthcare is not something that is unique to the military; we both [military and civilians] have large numbers of people that need to be in to be in the best health care possible and in the best health status in order to do their jobs well,” said Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency. “The status of our health is something that binds us all.”

Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency, builds rapport with the audience at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society 2017 conference. (MHS photo)Navy Vice Adm. Raquel Bono, director of the Defense Health Agency, builds rapport with the audience at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society 2017 conference. (MHS photo)

Bono made the remarks at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) 2017 conference in Orlando, Florida, Feb. 21, 2017. The conference brings together approximately 40,000 health care IT professionals, clinicians, executives and vendors from around the world. Bono pointed out the obvious differences military members have in their jobs from those in the civilian world: quickly putting thousands of paratroopers on the ground in harm’s way, as just one example. But she stressed despite that unique mission, service members are really no different from other Americans. And the needs of the Military Health System (MHS) are really not that different than the demands put on the American health system.

“While making sure military medicine can help place paratroopers on the ground is unique to military health care, we share some of the same goals that the national health care effort has too, in terms of making sure there is access to health care, and that there’s a minimum disparity of care for folks,” said Bono.

Bono said there are several initiatives the MHS is taking to improve delivery of care to its 9.4 million beneficiaries. She pointed to the recent Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, launch of MHS GENESIS – an open, flexible, and easily adaptable medical and dental electronic health record to ensure care providers and beneficiaries can access information as needed, from the point of injury to care in military hospitals and clinics or the private sector. It will be implemented across the MHS over the course of the next five years, allowing time to meet any changing needs and identify and correct unanticipated problems early.

“This [launch] was very exciting – because we were able to see the first step – the first actualization of our transition to MHS GENESIS,” said Bono. “What was neat about that was seeing our initial deployment move out so successfully.”

Also, provisions in the recently passed National Defense Authorization Act will help deliver a system of health and readiness focused on integrating that care around the patient, said Bono. Devices such as smartphones and fitness monitors will be an important part of that integration, and the people at HIMSS will be important in delivering the technology to make it all happen.

Bono said the advances made in the MHS will also pay off for the civilian world.

“Not only will advances in health care be a benefit to your greatest military, but think we have some lessons that we can also share with the rest of the national health care space,” concluded Bono.


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Did you know?

A veteran’s family must request a United States flag.

A flag is provided at no cost to drape the casket or accompany the urn of a deceased veteran. Generally, the flag is given to the next of kin. Only one flag may be provided per veteran. Upon the request of the family, an “Application for United States Flag for Burial Purposes” (VA Form 21-2008) must be submitted along with a copy of the veteran’s discharge papers. Flags may be obtained from VA regional offices and most U.S. Post Offices.