VHA, Kaiser to pool resources for better patient care

The Veterans Health Administration and Kaiser Permanente are teaming up in an effort not only to improve care for their own patients but for everyone in the country.

The two groups plan to conduct research and share best practices in four areas:

  • Connected health and virtual care
  • Genomics
  • Care of patients who are veterans and also members of Kaiser Permanente
  • Advanced analytics to leverage innovative uses of large data sets and population management

"We are eager to continue to redesign the experience of our veterans," Patrick Littlefield, director of the VA Center for Innovation, said in an announcement. "We're excited about this partnership to make way for useful and tangible outputs."

Together, the two organizations provide care for nearly 18 million Americans. The collaboration is part of the Veterans Affairs Center of Innovation Partnership Program. The two organizations plan to publish research along the way to share their findings with the wider healthcare industry.

In 2010, Kaiser and the VA collaborated on a pilot program to exchange medical data using the Nationwide Health Information Network. That effort grew into the VA Exchange capability now available through 121 VA medical centers and 14 private partners.

The VA has been on the forefront of using technology to improve access to care and in its data-sharing initiatives. Kaiser has long been data-focused as well--plus it uses a complete mockup hospital to test technologies and practices that can save money and improve patient safety.

The VA, meanwhile, is upgrading its VistA electronic health record system and blazing its own trail in mHealth.

However, Kenneth Kizer, who oversaw the VA during the 1990s, told Stateline Health News that at least 250,000 U.S. veterans won't get insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, leaving them with a mix of civilian and VA-oriented care that could drive up uncompensated care costs.

To learn more:
- here's the announcement

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