Lawmakers Dispute DoD, VA’s Claims of Health Record Interoperability

Jared Serbu | Federal News Radio | July 14, 2016

Three months ago, the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs certified to Congress that their electronic health records could finally exchange data in a meaningful way. But lawmakers aren’t satisfied with that assertion and are looking for more clarity on what “interoperability” actually means. With some fanfare, the two departments both attested that they’d met a 2014 congressional mandate to make all of their respective health data interoperable with one another’s IT systems.

The claim was based on DoD and VA’s successful implementation of the Joint Legacy Viewer, a read-only web application whose main function is to let VA doctors and claims administrators see a veteran’s DoD records. As of this month, JLV has nearly 200,000 users. But several Senate appropriators said Wednesday that the functionality JLV offers falls far short of Congress’ original intent.

Aside from the fact that the current version of JLV is mainly text-based, Kirk said the system is also inadequate in that it lacks any ability to perform data analytics on the vast trove of digital health information the two departments hold and are now sharing with one another. Those types of analytics could be used, for example, to identify soldiers and veterans who may be at risk of suicide...