U.S. servicemembers and their dependents will no longer see the chicken-scratch penmanship of doctors in their medical records at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany.

That’s one of the benefits Composite Health Care System II, a new computerized system that will store patient medical records electronically, plans to offer.

“We joke about that stereotype, but it’s true,” said Dr. (Maj.) Joseph Flynn, chief of the medical oncology clinic at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center. “With this system, you’ll have type-written notes so everyone will know what has been done. That will improve care over time.”

Training for the electronic record-keeping system will begin next week at Landstuhl. The goal is to have training completed at Landstuhl and its associated clinics by early June. The system is already in place at the U.S. Army hospital in Heidelberg.

Under the system, doctors at Landstuhl and hospitals within the system will be able to access accurate and up-to-date patient records online. By the end of 2006, the system should be operating at all Department of Defense hospitals.

“This will ensure that all medical record information is together and transportable,” Flynn said.

While the paperless record system aims to end the days of servicemembers lugging their medical files to and from appointments, the system will contain only records dating to August 2002.

Landstuhl patients with upcoming appointments need to be patient during the transition period, Flynn said.

“Patients have to understand that there will be some delays, but those delays will be worked out over time,” he said.

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