DoD: Joint legacy viewer provides 'interoperability' with VA

The Department of Defense claims to have met the interoperability requirements for electronic health records as called for in the National Defense Authorization Act, according to DoD News.

DoD says that its Joint Legacy Viewer, a Web-based integrated system, combines electronic health records from both the DoD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), which doctors from both agencies can access. A user needs government credentials to access the viewer, and a log-in system keeps track of who accessed it. The viewer is still in the testing phase.

"At the end of the day, I think it comes down to some pretty basic things," Chris Miller, program executive officer of the Defense Healthcare Management System, said last week. "Are we able to share information and are people able to use that information to accomplish their job on the other side?"

Interoperability via the Joint Legacy Viewer is at odds with an August report by the Government Accountability Office, which noted that while the viewer provides a real-time integrated view of EHRs in the existing systems and is a step toward achieving interoperability, if DoD and VA continue on their current trajectory, interoperability won't be completed until after 2018. The viewer is not interactive; it's in a read-only format. The GAO also noted that the VA expects its open-source enterprise health management platform to replace the Joint Legacy Viewer.

The agencies have been woefully behind in their interoperability efforts after close 20 years of work, and failed to meet the Oct. 1, 2015, deadline established in the National Defense Authorization Act for 2014 for compliance with national data standards and other requirements. They announced in 2011 plans to transition to a new integrated EHR, but abandoned that idea in 2013. House lawmakers blasted the agencies last month for their interoperability problems, blaming poor management, not technology.

To learn more:
- here's the DoD News article