At its inception, the Affordable Care Act has been fought over in political arenas over and over, moving all the way up to the Supreme Court and back down again. As it stands, the ACA is here to stay. With healthcare a major issue now and in 2016, examining the effects the ACA has and will have is crucial to certain groups in the population, of which veterans are a large focus. No matter the opinion on the law as a whole, there are pieces beneficial to veterans, mostly in the form of requiring medical records across the country to become digitized. This is important for two reasons: it allows copies to be accessed no matter where the veteran is located, and it helps maintain continuity of information should physical records be lost or destroyed, as has happened by the trusted employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Digital medical records are a $9 billion market with thousands of companies, major defense contractors included, competing for their slice of the pie. As discussed before, digital medical records are an integral part in maintaining health care for military personnel and subsequent veterans. When records go missing or were never input in the first place, crucial diagnoses or treatments may get overlooked and put the veteran’s health in jeopardy. The ACA’s digital medical records mandate will help remedy that as well as provide a huge market opportunity, not only for the civilian sector, but also for any veterans delving into that space and seeking to carve out their own niche.
Rather than having to recount an entire medical history between a civilian medical practice and the VA, the ACA mandate will help facilitate a solid foundation where systems can talk to one another, but the caveat is since so many companies want to create their own platforms, the disconnect between systems will be much more prevalent a problem than it currently is. Where problems exist, so do opportunities.
With digital medical records, a solid, comprehensive platform across all branches and agencies allows for the seamless shift of information, easily accessible, centrally located, ubiquitous across systems no matter who is using what to access it, and as a result, the individual benefits, but so do the medical professionals in cutting down time dealing with records, retracing steps with treatments or diagnoses, and even cutting down capital expenditures through yet even more systems implementation. No matter the level of the professional, there is something to be gained on all levels, from the consumer to the professional. Even cutting regulatory costs, which at times can deliver a death knell to small businesses, can be greatly reduced.
The time is now to realize the benefits laws bring to some much neglected population groups in our country. Sure, we have allies outside of the military and law enforcement communities, but ultimately it’s the people who wear or have worn the uniform who know the best solutions and will be the future gatekeepers and creators for any products or services benefitting the aforementioned groups. We have an imperative as members who have served.
We are all we have. Now we act.
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