The Veterans Affairs Department has started a pilot to share patient records between the Richmond VA Medical Center and MedVirginia, a central Virginia health information exchange, which expands the virtual lifetime electronic record (VLER) program.
With the VLER program, VA is developing a single electronic system to track the medical, benefits and administrative records of service members from their induction into the military throughout their lives as veterans.
VA selected the Richmond area because it has a high concentration of veterans, military retirees, and members of the Guard and Reserve present in the region, said Eric Shinseki, Veterans Affairs secretary.
Seven of 10 veterans receive some portion of their healthcare from private sector hospitals and physicians, VA has said.
Partnering with MedVirginia will enable the Richmond VA Medical Center to access clinical summaries when its patients receive care with other providers that participate in MedVirginia’s network.
“This pilot is one more step taken to deliver a virtual lifetime electronic record for our nation’s Veterans and service members,” Shinseki said in an announcement April 7.
The pilot builds on VLER operations in San Diego, Calif., and Hampton Roads/Tidewater, Va. and the VA is also developing VLER test projects in Spokane, Wash., Indianapolis, Ind., and Utah.
[Related: VA launches fourth VLER pilot. See also: VA, Utah will test exchange of rural veteran's health data.]
VLER participants exchange information using the nationwide health information network, a set of standards and services that enables secure sharing through the Internet. MedVirginia in February 2009 became the first healthcare organization to start using the nationwide health information network to share patient data with the Social Security Administration to speed up its disability determination process.
VA will invite veterans in the Richmond area to participate in this health information exchange pilot, which VA switched on in March. Veterans who choose to participate will authorize their public and private sector healthcare providers to share specific health data electronically securely.