Monday, October 8, 2012

VA-IHIE Demo in Progress

When the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) was initiated by DOD and the VA, the VA began a partnership with Regenstrief Institute and the Indiana Health Information Exchange (IHIE). This enables the VA to exchange health information with community partners through the VA-IHIE program.

The project titled “Evaluation of VLER Indiana Health Information Exchange Demonstration Project” (IIR 11-058), funded from July 2012 through June 2015, will deliver empirical evidence on the value of health information exchanges. Many practitioners and administrators intuitively believe health information exchanges lower redundant medical testing, and increase the quality of care received by veterans but there is little empirical data regarding the value of HIEs in the peer-reviewed literature.

Previously reported studies have not been able to link the access of HIEs by providers to healthcare processes and outcomes. Nor has research been designed to examine the amount of additional information provided by HIEs that may be needed to have an effect upon healthcare quality. There is little knowledge of the effect of HIEs upon ambulatory care quality or its impact on the primary care settings.

The study seeks to assess the proportion and predictors of healthcare received by veterans outside the VA and to assess the impact of VA-IHIE upon the quality of care received. The demonstration project will look at the quality and admission rates of ambulatory care and whether the VA-IHIE will reduce the overuse of medical tests among veterans and if costs for care will be reduced.

The goal is to sign up at least 5,000 patients during the first year of operation. The study will look at participants in the VA-IHIE demonstration program that are drawn from the shared population of patients who have been seen at both the Indianapolis VA and non-VA medical institutions associated with IHIE.