Veterans at select sites in the Pacific Northwest are one step closer to the rollout of VA’s new electronic health record (EHR) system later this month, following the successful and secure transfer of patient data Oct. 1.
The data, which includes clinical and demographic records for about 88,000 Veterans, will equip VA health care providers with a better view of patient information when using the new EHR system after its planned implementation on Oct. 24 at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, and its associated clinics.
“Making sure that VA providers have fast and secure access to patient data is an important part of improving health outcomes for our Veterans,” said John H. Windom, executive director of VA’s Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization. “This transfer helps ensure clinicians at Mann-Grandstaff have that information when they start using the new EHR later this month.”
When the new EHR launches, VA clinicians and administrative staff at the facility will be able to easily access, verify and update patient information directly within the EHR itself, rather than using multiple systems. This includes patient medications, allergies, immunizations, past medical procedures and ongoing health concerns, as well as demographic details, such as a patient’s address, phone number and email.
With this information more accessible, VA health care providers will be able to view patient medical histories that will support clinical decision-making and improve Veteran health results.
Once deployed, the new EHR system will connect Veteran electronic health records with the Department of Defense (DOD), the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) and community care providers who are in the VA network. This interoperability will allow VA clinicians, staff and community providers to see a Veteran’s full medical history in one location — without the Veteran or clinician needing to track down previous clinical information from within VA, DOD or USCG or from community care providers.
Although VA is adopting the same commercial EHR platform as DOD and USCG, VA’s system will include additional functionality to meet the needs of Veterans, clinicians and community care partners.
VA’s transfer of active patient data into the new EHR is the latest of several Electronic Health Record Modernization (EHRM) program milestones. In August, VA launched its new patient appointment system, the Centralized Scheduling Solution (CSS), at sites in the VA Central Ohio Healthcare System. In April, VA and DOD launched a joint health information exchange, which allows providers in both departments to quickly and securely access data for patients seen by a participating community partner or health system.
This latest achievement moves VA closer to its goal of enabling a lifetime of seamless care for service members and Veterans. After the implementation at Mann-Grandstaff, the EHRM program will continue over the next several years, launching the new software until it is in place nationwide at all VA facilities by 2028.
Learn more about VA’s EHRM program.
Army Veteran John Short is the chief technology and integration officer for VA’s Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization (OEHRM). As of August 2020, OEHRM has successfully migrated more than 111 billion VistA health records of 23.7 million Veterans to VA’s new electronic health record (EHR) solution.