Wednesday, September 22, 2010

VA & Partners Launch HIE

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) launched a new pilot in the Spokane region that will improve the portability of health information to veterans and active duty service members. The Spokane VA Medical Center and the Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane is partnering with Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS) a highly recognized health information exchange network.

The goal for this new pilot is to securely exchange EHR information using the Nationwide Health Information Network as a next step towards the implementation of the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record. The Spokane pilot is planned to run through 2012 and will advance EHRs for the VA, DOD, and other community providers.

This new pilot HIE is the fourth that the VA created with private medical providers. The first two located in San Diego and Tidewater areas of Virginia also included a partnership with the DOD. Right now, the previous pilot program for the Tidewater area of Virginia is preparing to go live. Also recently, the VA announced plans for a pilot in the Indianapolis area which has an established HIE.

INHS, a non-profit corporation based in Spokane provides the backbone for current and future innovative technologies in HIE. INHS connects 38 hospitals and healthcare facilities, enabling physicians and providers to securely access patient information using wired and wireless technologies. Today, the INHS network includes more than 4000 physicians, 450 clinics and physician offices, and 3.5 million electronic medical records.

“More than 5,500 active military personnel are stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, where thousands of vets and their families call the greater Spokane region home,” said Tom Fritz, CEO of INHS.” “We are honored to work with the VA and the Department of Defense to build on a nationally recognized health information network to provide an even more efficient health information delivery system.”

The VA will invite veterans who already receive healthcare form the VA and veterans from selected hospitals and providers in Spokane area to sign up for the pilot with the understanding that their information will not be shared without their authorizations. Veterans who are selected to participate in this pilot program will be helping their public and private sector healthcare providers and doctors share specific health information electronically.