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The Military Health System (MHS) provides health care to active duty service members and their families, retirees and their families, and Guard and Reserve members serving on active duty and their families. In January 2004, the MHS began implementation of the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application (AHLTA), DoD's global electronic health record system. AHLTA will ultimately be used by all providers in the military's direct care system at the point of care. The authors describe a four-part framework they recommend that DoD adopt in measuring AHLTA's contribution to MHS performance: (1) outcome measures capturing valued domains of system performance plausibly influenced by the presence of AHLTA; (2) “treatments” — ways of using AHLTA that are expected to influence one or more outcome measures, (3) a logic model describing the mechanisms or processes by which uses of AHLTA (i.e., treatments) influence outcome measures, and (4) an evaluation design for estimating AHLTA's effect on outcome measures in quantitative terms.

The research reported here was sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). The research was conducted jointly by the Center for Military Health Policy Research, a RAND Health program, and the Forces and Resources Policy Center, a RAND National Defense Research Institute (NDRI) program. NDRI is a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the OSD, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Department of the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

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