VA, DoD To Expand Health Information Exchanges

Nicole Blake Johnson | Federal Times | August 29, 2012

The Veterans Affairs and Defense departments are ready to expand 13 pilot programs and offer veterans’ health information exchanges nationwide. The new exchanges will build on the success of the pilots, where VA and DoD physicians in Indianapolis, Richmond, Va., San Diego and other cities share veterans’ health data with each other and the private sector.

The move is a major step toward fulfilling an administration initiative called the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER), which requires VA and DoD to provide service members and veterans with seamless health care and online access to their health and other personal data throughout their lifetimes. “The next step is to further that deployment, but in a focused way,” Barclay Butler, director of the VA-DoD Interagency Program Office, said Tuesday. The office oversees the VLER initiative and the departments’ efforts to build an integrated electronic health record.


Butler’s office first is developing a plan to expand the exchanges in regions and communities where health care providers participate in the Nationwide Health Information Network — an initiative led by the Health and Human Services Department to securely exchange health information using common standards and protocols. The areas, still to be determined, must also have large populations of veterans and service members...