Veterans Health Administration Thinks Key to Interoperability May Be in the Cloud

Joseph Conn | Modern Healthcare | January 9, 2017

The giant Veterans Health Administration is poking its head into the cloud to see if therein lies the key to sharing data within and outside of its sprawling healthcare delivery system. The goal of the Digital Health Platform is to pull patient data from the VA, military and commercial electronic health record systems, applications, devices and wearables and send it to a patient's healthcare team in real-time. That would allow patients to more easily obtain health care from physicians and hospitals outside of VA facilities, but some experts say a cloud-based platform also leaves it vulnerable to hackers.

So far, the DHP pilot program has drawn three participants — Chicago-based Apervita, as well as MuleSoft and Salesforce Health Cloud, both of which have headquarters in San Francisco. Apervita will provide what it says is a real-time healthcare data analytics platform; MuleSoft, a layer of application programming interfaces for data extraction and Salesforce, its expertise in cloud-based customer relationship management.

President elect Donald Trump recently suggested through his transition team that veterans should be able to have more choices in where they go for their healthcare, saying they should be able to visit private sector providers. The Trump proposal is broader than Veterans Choice program reforms passed in 2014 in the wake of the wait times scandal. Either approach puts pressure on the VHA to improve interoperability. The VHA and the Military Health System have spent more than a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars to enable their two EHRs to communicate patient information between each other...