iEHR to roll out in 2017

Much work remains on the joint integrated electronic health record system being created by the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki told reporters earlier this week at Chicago's James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center, Nextgov reports. The full system, Shinseki said, is not due out until 2017, though a preliminary version will roll out at medical facilities in San Antonio and Hampton Roads, Va., in 2014.

"We'll go as fast as we can without accepting risk that's not tolerable," Shinseki said. "[Q]uality and safety are the standards we measure ourselves by."

The system is to built upon components created within the two agencies. The "EHR Way Ahead" architecture is designed to offer "coordinated 'best-of-breed' approach" that mixes "SOA-compliant capabilities, commercial off-the-shelf, open source and custom systems."

Among the issues worked out, InformationWeek reports, are common data standards, data center consolidation, common clinical applications, a common presentation layer, and a governance structure for the iEHR.

The two agencies have been sharing the healthcare information of 1.1 million service members and veterans for the past three years, according to Federal News Radio. Single sign-on and a context management system to let users easily go between clinical applications both have been deployed at Lovell, which often is used to display the latest iEHR advancements. Plans exist to expand those capabilities to other health centers later this year.

Lingering issues at the Lovell center outlined by Lt. Cmdr. Donna Poulin, the hospital's chief information systems officer, in an internal presentation obtained by Nextgov, include:


  • The iEHR graphical user interface for clinicians developed by the VA in Honolulu operates in read-only mode, preventing any data input.
  • Clinicians must access three separate networks--VA, Defense and Navy--all with different methods to authenticate users and with different security policies


The current capabilities include inpatient and outpatient pharmacy, immunization, and dental care. Plans are to next add ER care, laboratory, PHR, consultation and referral management, and care management. In the future, the iEHR will add inpatient and outpatient documentation, anatomic pathology, and disability evaluation.

To learn more:
- read the Nextgov article
- here's the internal presentation 
- read the Federal News Radio story