The Defense Health Agency is working on a way for a person injured overseas to have instant access to world-class health care. Cmdr. Tony Thornton, deputy director of the Health Information Technology Directorate at DHA, said the technology for making such connectivity possible was already available.

“The technology exists today to allow real-time data,” Thornton said. “The demand is real. It’s needed. In order for us to deliver world-class care, we just have to get on board from a government perspective.”

Thornton, speaking on a panel at the Citrix 2016 Security Summit in Washington, D.C., said modernized health records could expedite and improve health care within the United States and at military outposts overseas. Electronic health records allow doctors to administer care and patients to access their personal information through their smartphones.

Panelists also addressed mobility. David Smith, director of state and local government sales for Citrix, said state governments are improving their operating system landscapes and working to streamline their applications in order to connect to citizens.

“Mobility is huge in getting closer and closer to the constituents,” Smith said. “If you’re not instantly entering information, there’s a loss of quality of that information.”

Thornton compared mobility needs to Uber, stating that consumers, as well as professionals, need fast and reliable access to online information.

He used the example of walking into a doctor’s appointment, only to find the doctor spend more time looking at his or her computer screen than at the patient. Thornton said that mobile health records accessed from a small device, such as a phone, rather than a computer, allowed for a renewed personalization between doctor and patient.

“There’s a humanistic aspect. We, the technologists, have to adapt and be prepared and provide a secure environment,” Thornton said. “Because of these advancements, the doctors are back to looking at you. The patient engagement is real.”

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