Test centers for new DoD-VA health records system to open by Oct. 1

Nicole Blake Johnson | Federal Times | June 22, 2012
The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments will use existing DoD facilities in Richmond, Va., and on Hawaii’s island of Maui to develop and test components of a new $4 billion integrated electronic health record (iEHR) system. The centers, to be opened at DoD’s joint information technology centers there by Oct. 1, are a key step in the departments’ effort to make active-duty military members’ electronic health records accessible to VA doctors, and to have vets’ records accessible to VA and other health care providers.

VA, DoD and contractors at the centers will test how parts of the new system interact with each department’s legacy electronic health record systems — VA’s VistA and DoD’s AHLTA, once known as the Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application. This includes testing a critical portion of the new health record, called the enterprise service bus, which will allow components of the future system to communicate with each other and with VA and DoD health information stored in data centers.

Replacing the department’s existing systems will take another five years. But, if everything works as planned, clinicians won’t notice any degradation in service, said Karen Guice, principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for health affairs, and acting Military Health System chief information officer. Guice spoke at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society conference in Washington last week. Once DoD and VA start to roll out portions of the iEHR system in 2014, “we need to make sure that something doesn’t break,” she said...

Open Health News' Take: 

This is an excellent article on the joint information technology centers and the plans for the iEHR. Well worth reading in its entirety--Roger A. Maduro, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief.