Late Breaking News
DoD, VA Collaboration Could Create EHR interoperability for All Healthcare
- Categorized in: 2012 Issues, Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), July 2012, News
By Annette M. Boyle
ST. PAUL, MN — The Defense and Veterans Affairs departments reached an agreement with 3M that has the potential to go far beyond integrating electronic health records between the two departments. The deal could galvanize efforts to implement and integrate medical information and securely share patient data between physicians and facilities across the globe.
The contract makes the 3M Healthcare Data Dictionary (3M HDD), “software and terminology content openly available to hospitals, health systems, physician practices, payers, vendors and public health agencies worldwide,” according to a press release announcing the agreement. That’s no trivial matter: The 3M HDD currently contains 36 million clinical terms, concepts and definitions — all now available for free.
Jon Lindekugel, president, 3M Health Information Systems, Murray, UT
“Opening access to the 3M Healthcare Data Dictionary is the single biggest thing 3M can do to contribute to healthcare and data interoperability,” said Jon Lindekugel, president, 3M Health Information Systems, Murray, UT. “It will help the DoD and VA achieve their goal of a fully integrated electronic health record across all healthcare facilities, so active and retired U.S. military and their families will have better coordinated and higher quality care.”
VA Secretary Eric Shinseki recently restated his commitment to that goal, emphasizing the desire for a truly open format. “Secretary Panetta and I have committed to a single common joint integrated electronic health record. Each of those words means something, one that is open in architecture and nonproprietary in design to expand information sharing, eliminate gaps between our two robust healthcare systems. This is key to seamlessness, critical to enhancing quality of healthcare and essential to controlling costs,” Shinseki said.
VA and DoD clinicians can expect to see the benefits of the 3M HDD well before other users. HDD is currently in use in 870 military hospitals and clinics.
The new contract will expand its use through the VA, enabling sharing of patient information between the departments through an integrated electronic health record (iEHR), accessible wherever care is provided.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki recently said the iEHR would be ready in 2017 and tested in San Antonio and Hampton Roads, VA, in 2014, about two years earlier than initially projected. When fully deployed, the iEHR will serve 8.3 million veterans and 9.7 million military personnel, making it the world’s largest electronic health record system.