DoD, VA making steps toward joint EHRs--for now

The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments appear to be moving toward finally creating an integrated electronic health record--or iEHR--that will house a cloud computing environment hosted by the Defense Information Systems Agency, the VA's Chief Information Officer Roger Baker, announced Wednesday at a Washington, D.C. meeting.

But elsewhere in Washington, the creation of next-generation EHRs is getting a critical eye--especially on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, two House Armed Services Committee panels voted to sharply reduce budgets for the next-generation EHR system-- pending receipt of reports requested by the panels, according to Nextgov.

One of the panels--the Military Personnel Subcommittee--in its markup on Tuesday "put a potential speed bump" in the way of development of next-generation EHRs, Nextgov repots. The panel said it would corral all but 10 percent of the requested budget until 30 days after DoD delivers a report detailing a transition plans for a new system "that is cost-effective and interoperable." This language will need approval by the full House and Senate.

DoD and the Veterans Affairs Department had agreed in March to jointly develop a new EHR ssystem. The future VA and DoD joint EHR system will not necessarily be built on proprietary software, said Baker earlier this week--despite a leaked memo this week that emphasized "commercial solutions" for the project.

"VA and DoD have agreed that VA's use of open source as the model for development of VistA fits within our mutual plans for the joint common electronic health record," Baker said in a statement to sister publication, FierceGovernmentIT.

For more details:
- see the Nextgov article
- see the FierceGovenmentIt article