The VA plans to attain full interoperability of electronic health record capabilities and systems by September 2009 according to Michael J. Kussman, M.D., Under Secretary for Health, Veterans Health Administration. He recently appeared before the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs and said “All electronic medical data may not be shared but data deemed essential by our clinicians will be shared.”
Dr, Kussman continued to say that the newly formed Joint Clinical Information Board (JCIB) will play a key role in determining the priorities for clinical information that will be shared and how to meet the requirements. JCIB recommends adding family and social history data, expanded types of patient questionnaires, and forms to the required information.
DOD has plans to pilot test the capability to scan paper documents. In addition, DOD intends to implement their inpatient clinical documentation system at additional military treatment facilities in FY 2009 to enable VA providers to view inpatient clinical documentation on a greater number of patients. Additional inpatient documentation such as operative notes, inpatient consultations, transfer summary notes, and inpatient history and physical reports, currently piloted in the Puget Sound area will also be viewable by VA sites.
The VA is also sharing more data with DOD such as digital radiology images. Plans are to expand sharing computable health data beyond the initial seven locations with the VA and DOD adding computable laboratory results in 2009.
In another move to help both CMS and TRICARE, CMS has announced an expansion of the South Carolina Personal Health Record pilot (MyPHRSC) that will now include TRICARE data. An interagency agreement between CMS and DOD enables beneficiaries who have original Medicare and also receive TRICARE benefits to be able to add TRICARE health data to their personal health records. Until this point, this data has only been available to the beneficiary through the DOD Medical Information Technology System. This CMS collaboration with DOD will be the first time additional data from another electronic source other than Medicare will be available in MyPHRSC.
The PHR tool was created by HealthTrio and the Medicare data is provided through Palmetto GBA, a Medicare contractor serving South Carolina. The pilot is being managed by QSSI, a company headquartered in Gaithersburg Maryland.