VA DOD joint record to be deployed from 2014 to 2017

Even after the Veterans Affairs-Defense new joint integrated health record system begins rolling out in 2014, many functionalities will still need to be migrated to the new system, according to a senior VA official.

The joint integrated Electronic Health Record system being developed by the Veterans Affairs and Defense department will be deployed nationwide from 2014 to 2017, and development work on the system will be ongoing during that period, Roger Baker, chief information officer for the VA, said on May 23.

Baker, speaking in a conference call with reporters, said there are 127 existing medical applications that need to be “addressed” in the new joint “iEHR” system. That means some forms of the existing applications would be migrated from legacy systems to the new system, or similar functionalities would be developed in the new joint system.

Although work has already started, development is likely to be continuing on most of the 127 applications during the deployment period starting in 2014, Baker said.

“The bulk of the applications won’t be in the new system” as of 2014, he said. Many of the applications will continue to run in the existing legacy systems, VA’s “VistA” and DOD’s “AHTLA” while the development work continues, he added.

During the 2014 to 2017 period, those dozens of applications will continue to be replaced and functionality developed in the new system, Baker said.

Baker also said the new joint system will have four layers, including a data map to the Healthcare Data Dictionary, an enterprise service bus for messaging between the data and the applications, the applications and a common graphical user interface.

Both the Defense and VA have agreed to build an open source ecosystem for software for their joint record, Baker said.

“We are committed to moving down that path,” Baker said. “It is not easy. It is a new way of doing things and we are breaking new ground.”

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