Computer-Based Patient Records: Short-Term Progress Made, but Much Work Remains to Achieve a Two-Way Data Exchange Between VA and DOD Health Systems Page: 4 of 15
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clarified key roles and responsibilities for the initiative and begun
executing revised near- and long-term strategies for achieving the
electronic information exchange capability.
My statement today will discuss our observations regarding VA's and
DOD's continued actions over the past year to further their
implementation of the electronic information exchange, including an
update on (1) the status and reported benefits of the ongoing near-term
initiative, the Federal Health Information Exchange (FHIE), and (2) the
departments' progress and challenges in achieving the longer term, two-
way exchange of data under the HealthePeople (Federal) initiative.
In conducting this work, we obtained and reviewed relevant
documentation and interviewed key agency officials regarding VA's
decisions and actions, in conjunction with DOD, to develop an electronic
medical record for exchanging patient information. We analyzed the
departments' plans and strategies for the HealthePeople (Federal)
initiative and data on patient information that is currently being
transmitted by DOD to VA. In addition, to observe data retrieval
capabilities of the Federal Health Information Exchange, we conducted a
site visit at the VA medical center in Washington, D.C. We performed our
work in accordance with generally accepted government auditing
standards, from March through November 2003.
Results in Brief
The current one-way transfer of health information resulting from the
departments' near-term solution-the Federal Health Information
Exchange-represents a positive undertaking that has begun enabling
information sharing between DOD and VA. As part of the initiative,
electronic health data from separated (retired or discharged) service
members contained in DOD's Military Health System Composite Health
Care System are being transmitted monthly to a VA FHIE repository,4
which VA clinicians access through the department's current health
system, the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology
Architecture. As a result, VA clinicians now have more readily accessible
DOD health data, such as laboratory, pharmacy, and radiology records, on
almost 2 million patients and have noted the benefits of this current
capability in improving health care delivery. Further, although not
4A repository is an information system used to store and access data.
GAO-04-271T VA/DOD Health Data Exchange
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United States. General Accounting Office. Computer-Based Patient Records: Short-Term Progress Made, but Much Work Remains to Achieve a Two-Way Data Exchange Between VA and DOD Health Systems, text, November 19, 2003; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295289/m1/4/: accessed December 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.