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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 1207-05
November 18, 2005

Military Health System Enters New Era

The Department of Defense achieved a major milestone with the launch of AHLTA, its global electronic health record system, at a ceremony hosted by Dr. William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, and attended by Michael O. Leavitt, secretary of health and human services, at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda today.

AHLTA is the largest, most significant electronic health record system of its kind with the potential to serve more than nine million servicemembers, retirees and their families worldwide. When fully implemented, about 60,000 military healthcare professionals at DoD medical facilities in the United States, and 11 other countries will use this electronic health record system.

Beneficiaries health records will be available around the clock and around the world, available to healthcare providers, yet protected from loss and unauthorized access, said Winkenwerder. Our electronic health record has matured to a point that its size and complexity are unrivaled. Most importantly, this new system was built in partnership with Americas leading information technology companies."

Today, many thousands of military medical providers are using the system, and nearly 300,000 outpatient visits are captured digitally every week. Full deployment of the system in DoDs 800 clinics and 70 hospitals will be complete by December 2006.

"With the roll-out of AHLTA, the Department of Defense has made a great step toward achieving President Bush's goal of making electronic health records available to a majority of Americans within 10 years," said Leavitt. "The lessons we learn from an initiative of this geographic scope and patient base will prove invaluable for future private and government health systems."

The longer term vision, expected to be achieved in the next two to three years, is a continuously updated digital medical record from the point of injury or care on the battlefield to military clinics and hospitals in the United States, all completely transferable electronically to the Veterans Health Administration.

A massive training program for AHLTA is currently underway in DoDs medical community to ensure all who have access to the system are properly trained in usage and health record security.

More information on AHLTA can be found on their Web site at www.ha.osd.mil/AHLTA .