VA pilots new patient data sharing in Virginia

Veterans in the Richmond area may soon be using patient records available both at the Richmond VA Medical Center and MedVirginia, a central Virginia health information exchange.

It's part of a new pilot to expand the virtual lifetime electronic record (VLER) program that the VA and Department of Defense have developed to track the medical, benefits, and administrative records of service members from their military inductions through their lives as veterans. Veterans who elect to participate will authorize their public and private sector healthcare providers to share specific health data electronically.

The VA selected the Richmond area since it has a high concentration of veterans, military retirees, and members of the National Guard and Reserve present in the region. Currently, seven out of 10 veterans receive some portion of their healthcare from private sector hospitals and physicians, the VA said.

The partnership with MedVirginia will enable the Richmond VA Medical Center to access clinical summaries when its patients receive care with other providers who participate within MedVirginia's network.

The pilot builds upon VLER operations currently being used in San Diego, and the Hampton Roads/Tidewater areas of Virginia. The VA also is developing VLER test projects in Spokane, Wash., Indianapolis, and Utah.

In 2009, MedVirginia became the first healthcare organization to start using the nationwide health information network to share patient data with the Social Security Administration in efforts to speed up its disability determination process.

For more information:
- see Information Week article
- view HealthcareIT News article

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