VA eyes new platform to improve interoperability of veteran health data

With an eye on solving issues for sharing veteran health data between government agencies, the Department of Veterans Affairs is planning to launch a new interface--the Enterprise Health Management Platform (EHMP).

The EHMP, a Web-based system that uses apps or widgets to provide data, will share information with the Department of Defense's health records, according to FWC. The platform will work together with the new electronic health record system being planned for the DoD.

A decision by the DoD on who will be awarded the contract for its EHR is coming down the home stretch, with Computer Sciences Corp., teaming with Hewlett Packard and Allscripts; Cerner, with Leidos and Accenture Federal; and IBM, Epic and Impact Advisors vying for the $11-billion deal.

The EHMP also will allow caregivers in the VA system to have access to their patients' records across the agency's facilities; currently patient records are tethered to individual facilities.

"What we have not always done, and we are creating now, is a system for providers at the point of care taking care of veterans that natively integrates all of the data from both sides," David Waltman, a senior advisor to the undersecretary for health on IT issues, said during a demo of the program last week.

In late April, the VA announced a new digital service team at the DoD that will build partnerships with the private sector on IT and data problems. One area the team is working on is the transfer of electronic health records to the VA.

In EHMP, providers can see data on clinical encounters, patient vitals, meds, lab results and more, the report adds. EHMP is an in-house project for the VA and is open source. Waltman said; he hopes full access to the program will be available by the end of 2017.

However, despite the VA's and DoD's moves to advance health IT, the agencies' initiatives have recently come under fire from the Government Accountability Office. In recent testimony, a GAO official slammed investments in IT efforts by federal government agencies, which include the VA and DoD, for not meeting expectations and essentially become money pits.

David Powner, director of information technology management issues at GAO, said more than $80 billion annually is invested into IT, and that underperformance of programs stems from a variety of failures at management and executive levels.

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