Two years after the news broke, the Veterans Health Administration is still dominating the headlines. It was reported that the VHA was creating secret waiting lists in order to make the administration’s wait time reasonable.
Americans were outraged by the treatment and lack of care towards the men and women who served the country. But what upset them even more was the methodology behind this scandal. The administration, even in 2016, has just recently started to shift over to a digital platform for record keeping. Almost every record, claim, and account is still being kept in paper form. This created an endless backlog. Even though they may have developed VistA for computerized medical records for clinicians, and a personal database for veterans called My HealtheVet, it still doesn’t solve the problem.
The lack of technology has left many veterans behind when it comes to their claims, appointments, and especially their health. As multiple news outlets have exposed, thousands of files are stashed away in file cabinets and are forgotten. The backlog has not only manipulated the wait times for Veteran Affairs claims, but it also mistreats those who desperately want and need care.
One of the biggest concerns throughout the controversy was the staggering amount of time veterans had to wait to for an appointment or even just to make an appointment. On average, veterans had to wait at least six months to talk to someone or be able to schedule to talk to someone.
Veterans Affairs claims their wait times are shorter and the approval rate is high. But in order for the public to believe this, they need to make their data transparent. Every time a vet calls to schedule an appointment, their record should go on the blockchain. If a vet wants to see results of a test or x-ray, their name should go on the blockchain. This process would eliminate any pressure on the VA to have more transparency. This would also calculate more accurate wait times for the public, as well as the VA, to be able to see.
These Veteran Affairs issues may be solved if a special DApp was created solely for them. The vets could sign up through this DApp without having to wait for the administration to call them back to tell them when to make an appointment and whether they qualify for benefits. A simple DApp will have all their medical records handy for both the patient and the clinicians. This DApp could also help determine the severity of the vet’s condition in order to speed up their appointment or possible surgery.
This will not only benefit the veterans, but also the employees at the administration and clinics. This data will simply be a click away for them. The vet’s information will no longer be filed away and left without notice. The staff will have a better view of the 22 million veterans in the country, and they will be able to see their condition, their appointment status, as well as their wait time.
The 2014 scandal was not the only issue the Veterans Affairs has had. This has been an ongoing issue for the past hundred years. The only way to fix it is through a more transparent system. Once the public knows the truth, the administration will be pressured to make it right.