VA has NHIN pilot project in Indiana

VA hospital will test secure electronic exchange of patient medical information

The Veterans Affairs Department will test secure digital exchange of patient health information to develop a lifetime electronic medical record for all service members and veterans.

The VA announced that the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis will begin secure electronic transfer of patient medical data with the Indiana Health Information Exchange, according to a news release dated Aug. 24.

The exchange will enable sharing of information for the large percentage of veterans who receive care from both the VA and private doctors and facilities, the VA said, adding that it will involve only information from veterans who have given their consent to participate in the exchange.


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The Indiana health exchange was started for information sharing between the Regenstrief Institute, private hospitals, insurers, local and state health departments, and other health care organizations. It covers 60 hospitals and more than 6 million patients.

The VA and the Indiana exchange will share the patient medical information through the Health and Human Service Department’s Nationwide Health Information Network. The NHIN has been in development for several years as a system of protocols to allow for and govern the secure exchange of protected health information.

“This pilot is one more step taken to deliver a Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record for our nation’s veterans and service members,” VA Secretary Eric Shinseki said. “This new technology allows safer, more secure and private access to electronic health information, which, in turn, enhances our ability to continue providing veterans with the quality care that they have earned.”

The Indiana project is planned to run through the end of 2012.

Previously, the VA has conducted pilot projects testing patient health information-sharing through the NHIN with Kaiser Permanente in the San Diego area, and with the Defense Department and hospitals in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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