To cut costs, Defense and VA scrap plans for new electronic health record

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki listens at right as outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks at the Veterans Affairs Department in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013.

Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki listens at right as outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta speaks at the Veterans Affairs Department in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013. Susan Walsh/AP

Instead of building a system from scratch, the departments will integrate existing systems.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki announced late Tuesday they would forgo plans to build a new health records system to be used jointly by the departments and instead pursue less expensive technologies to make their respective systems more interoperable.

The new approach will significantly cut costs and ultimately deliver better service to patients and medical professionals much sooner than originally planned, they said, although they didn’t provide any savings estimates.

“As you know, our two departments have been moving toward a plan to build a single customized, integrated electronic health record system from the ground up to meet the president’s directive and modernize our legacy IT systems,” Panetta said. But cost concerns pushed the two secretaries to look for a solution “for much less money than had been budgeted,” he said.

“Ric and I agreed to make a series of important changes to simplify this program, cut costs and to get our veterans the key benefits of this system much sooner. Rather than building a single integrated system from scratch, we will focus our immediate efforts on integrating VA and DoD health data as quickly as possible, by focusing on interoperability and using existing solutions,” he said.

By this summer, the departments will field test a common interface for doctors at seven joint rehabilitation centers across the country and expand its use at two additional sites. “All of these facilities will be interoperable by the end of July 2013, so [it’s a] fast time track, but we think we can get it done,” Panetta said.

Initially, Defense and VA planned to deploy the common integrated electronic health record by 2017, but in December, Shinseki and Panetta announced they would accelerate that schedule and deploy the iEHR in 2014, although they offered no details of how they would do so. Tuesday’s meeting hammered out some of those details.

Among the key milestones this year Panetta and Shinseki announced:

  • March: The departments will select a core set of iEHR capabilities.
  • May: Patients in both departments will be able to download their medical records in what is known as the Blue Button initiative.
  • September: The departments will have a common authoritative source for health data.
  • July: The Janus graphical user interface will be deployed at seven rehab sites.
  • December: Health care data will be standardized and the graphical user interface will be upgraded, enabling the real-time exchange of data between the two departments.  

“We have more work to do,” Shinseki said, noting, “we have brought our two departments closer together than ever before, and that’s good for our people.”

Integrating the departments’ health records has proved to be enormously complex.

“This is a struggle,” Panetta said. “Some have argued that we should build a perfect system. Some argued that we’ll never be able to do this. But for the first time, both DoD and VA have come together to say we can get this done, we can get it done in an effective way that does the job and does it in an expeditious way.”

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.