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: 5 of 15
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originally included in the FHIE plan, VA officials have stated that efforts
are underway to provide access to outpatient and retail pharmacy data.
Realizing the departments' longer term strategy-HealthePeople
(Federal)-is farther out on the horizon. VA officials have stated that the
departments are on schedule to provide a limited capability for an
electronic, two-way exchange of patient health information by the end of
2005. However, VA and DOD face significant challenges in implementing a
full data exchange capability. Although a high-level strategy exists, the
departments have not yet clearly articulated a common health information
infrastructure and architecture to show how they intend to achieve the
data exchange capability or what exactly they will be able to exchange by
the end of 2005. In addition, critical to achieving the two-way exchange
will be completing the standardization of the clinical data that these
departments plan to share. Without standardization, the task of sharing
meaningful data is made more complex, and may not prove successful.
Until these essential issues are resolved, the departments cannot be
assured that the HealthePeople (Federal) initiative will deliver expected
benefits within established time frames.
In 1998, VA and DOD, along with the Indian Health Service (IHS), began
the Government Computer-Based Patient Record (GCPR) project-an
initiative to share patient health care data. At that time, each agency
collected and maintained patient health information in separate systems,
and their health facilities could not electronically share patient health
information across agency lines. GCPR was envisioned as an electronic
interface that would allow physicians and other authorized users at VA,
DOD, and IHS health facilities to access data from any of the other
agencies' health facilities. The interface was expected to compile
requested patient information in a "virtual" record that could be displayed
on a user's computer screen.
In reporting on the initiative in April 2001,5 we raised doubts about GCPR's
ability to provide expected benefits. We noted that the project was
experiencing schedule and cost overruns and was operating without clear
goals, objectives, and consistent leadership. We recommended that the
participating agencies (1) designate a lead entity with final decision-
making authority and establish a clear line of authority for the GCPR
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.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc295289/m1/5/: accessed April 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.