DoD, VA to expedite iEHR rollout

Planning to start early January

In a Thursday press conference, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, announced they intend to expedite the integrated electronic health (iEHR) record rollout to improve health data exchange between the two departments.

In an earlier press conference this year, Panetta had said the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) aimed to go live with the iEHR system in 2017. Thursday's press conference told a different story.

"Both Secretary Shinseki and I agree to develop a joint DoD-VA plan for accelerating this program, to try to integrate our health care systems," said Panetta. "And what we said is that we want to be able to meet or beat the schedule that we've established as targets here."

[See also: VA sets gold standard for EHR baseline.]

Panetta and Shinseki asked that the plan for the said system be presented to both departments come early January. "We've got to do everything we can to move this on a more expeditious path."

Officials say the iEHR system was proposed due to the lack of a shared health care record system between the two departments. "The centerpiece has been our effort to build an integrated electronic health record, a single common health record for service members and veterans that can be accessed at any DOD and VA medical facility," said Panetta in a May press conference.