March 21, 2011 – Another government agency joins the world of digital data. The Veterans Affairs Department (VA) is progressively automating veterans’ disability claims records.

Federal Times brought this story to our attention in their article, “More agencies moving paper records into the digital realm.” It now boasts more than 185,000 persons who can download their health records through VA’s Blue Button. In addition, VA is working with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Defense Department to make Blue Button technology available to all 8 million of these agencies’ health plan beneficiaries.

The process to convert its massive collection of paper personnel records began four years ago. Moving from paper to digitized records began slowly, but gained momentum. They converted about 300,000 records in a little over a year. Some 34 million pages were scanned into digitized form.

This is a huge undertaking but one in which machine assisted indexing can shine in its performance.

Melody K. Smith