House Hearing Probes Pentagon, VA on EHR Interoperability Efforts

House Hearing Probes Pentagon, VA on EHR Interoperability Efforts

On Tuesday, the House committees on Oversight and Veterans’ Affairs held a joint hearing to discuss efforts by the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs ┬áto implement interoperable electronic health record systems.

Background

In February 2013, DOD and VA officials announced plans to halt a joint integrated electronic health record, or iEHR system, and instead focus on making their current EHR systems more interoperable.

Earlier this month, DOD awarded its EHR modernization contract to a team comprised of EHR vendor Cerner, Leidos, a government systems integrator, and Accenture Federal.

Meanwhile, a GAO report released in August found several instances in which the departments missed key deadlines to make their systems more interoperable. For example, the report noted:

  • DOD and VA missed an Oct. 1, 2014, deadline established by Congress in the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act to certify that all health data in their systems met national standards and were computable in real time;
  • Several key activities in the departments’ system modernization plans will be implemented after the Dec. 31, 2016, deadline established by Congress for DOD and VA to deploy modernized EHR software; and
  • The DOD-VA Interagency Program Office, which is tasked with helping efforts to share health data between the departments, had not yet produced or created a time frame for incorporating outcome-oriented metrics and related goals.

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