Bi-directional Health Information Exchange (BHIE) between VA & DoD

Michael Luby | Government Health IT | May 17, 2013

In a recent Daily Show episode, Stewart was highlighting the backlog, nearly 900,000 strong in VA claims, that is now taking about 273 days per claim to process. Stewart went on to state that the fact that VA and DoD electronic medical records “don’t talk to each other” was the centerpiece to the VA benefits problem.Well, Stewart was half right.

...many who are involved in congressional oversight and working for VA and DoD are unaware of how these systems can and do share data — and have been doing so for over a decade now. Called the Bi-Directional Health Information Exchange, or BHIE, this system first introduced real-time bi-directional sharing of data between DoD and VA systems in 2004, and its predecessor FHIE was sharing DoD data with VA since 2002.

That remains true today: Currently, most clinical data types electronically available in either system can be called upon, used, managed and shared. To say that DoD’s AHLTA and the VA’s VistA do not talk to each other is simply not the case. The BHIE sharing framework is widely used, in fact, based on Web services standards, outfitted with robust next-generation hardware, and communicating over modern network infrastructure....Recent enhancements to the DoD and VA sharing exchange help facilitate nearly a million queries every month, and more than 25,000 records are accessed by users across both systems daily.