DOD/VA Health records project yielding important lessons

Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record should conform to Nationwide Health Information Network standards, officials say

The joint health data exchange pilot project between the Defense and the Veterans Affairs departments is still in its early phases, but already has taught valuable lessons about interoperability, government officials working on the project say.

The Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) Health Communities Program was created by President Barack Obama in April 2009 with the objective of creating a seamless lifetime electronic medical record for all service members that will cover them from active duty through retirement.


Related stories

VA and DOD expand health data exchange project


Now in its second phase of development, the requirements, designs and test plans for implementing VLER capabilities will need to be developed, reviewed and approved jointly, said Debra Filippi, director of the Interagency Program Office (IPO). The IPO bridges the DOD/VA partnership for electronic health records and was mandated by Congress to establish interoperability.

Also, Filippi and officials from VA and DOD advise adherence to the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) architecture, designed to ease the strain imposed on organizations as they build systems to fit their own needs while still conforming to a national partnership that shares standards.

“Partners should implement systems that are fully compliant with NHIN,” Filippi said. “[We all] need to have the shared knowledge of NHIN standards and relevance [to] all federal, private and vendor stakeholders.”

Linda Fischetti, chief informatics officer at the Veterans Health Administration, said there also needs to be a governing body to oversee VLER’s multi-agency, multi-level execution.

“A fully integrated network is going to increase in complexity. We need choreography to guide implementation. We need tests and other measures [for conformity] across agencies and organizations. Right now, as early implementers, we’re cobbling together all these standards,” Fischetti said.

The first phase of the VLER pilot program, which compiled health record data from the VA, DOD and provider Kaiser Permanente for selected service members in the area, was successfully completed the first quarter of this calendar year, Filippi said.

The second phase, expected to be completed in July, will increase data available in the records and expand to another three communities, she said. She emphasized that the project is still a work in progress.

“This is just the beginning. This is going to explode and take off at warp speed,” Filippi said.

About the Author

Amber Corrin is a former staff writer for FCW and Defense Systems.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Thu, Mar 25, 2010 Lee Cattell D.C.

Has Medicare been invited to participate. Veterans are required to apply for Medicare when they reach 65 so those records should also be included.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group