VA preparing to re-start health data exchange with DoD

The Department of Veterans Affairs may have already made a decision to restart health data exchange with the Department of Defense, slightly more than a week after cutting off access to Military Health System's AHLTA EMR system. The VA's Office of Information and Technology was to meet Tuesday night with Veterans Health Administration brass to decide whether to re-open the AHLTA portal for VA clinicians, Federal Computer Week reports.

The VA shut down the portal March 1 after one of its physicians noticed that the DoD record erroneously indicated that a female patient had been prescribed a medication for erectile dysfunction. VA officials said there was a problem with search functions in the interface software. "Queries for DoD patient data may display no data, a subset of data, incorrect data, or the complete data," says a VA alert sent out March 3. "The VA clinician may see the patient's data during one session, but another session may not display the data previously seen.

This news comes as the VA and DoD were announcing the expansion of the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) Health Communities Program to the Hampton Roads and Tidewater areas of Virginia. The two departments are testing a single EHR that covers service members from active duty through retirement, no matter where they seek treatment. The first VLER test, in San Diego, also involves Kaiser Permanente.

For more:
- read this Federal Computer Week story on the computer glitch
- have a look at this Virginian-Pilot (Norfolk, Va.) article about the VLER expansion