Creating electronic medical records has been a focus of officials at both the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs for much of the last several years. A new system would ensure that troops transitioning from active duty to veteran life will have their medical records seamlessly follow them. However, progress has been painstakingly slow, and lawmakers recently asked for an update, Stars and Stripes reports.

Officials from both the VA and DOD spoke before a joint session of the House Armed Services and House Veteran Affairs committees, where they told top congressmen that they are on track to have electronic medical records in place soon and able to be shared between departments by the end of the year. Legislators say the delays have made them skeptical while also making it more difficult for vets to receive much needed benefits.

"We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars," Rep. Mike Michaud said at the hearing, according to Stars and Stripes. "Delaying the delivery of an integrated – that is integrated, not interoperable – information-sharing system runs directly against Congressional intent, and ultimately hurts our veterans."

Having a streamlined system could help reduce the backlog facing the VA. According to the department, there was a backlog of more than 833,000 in late June.