Clinical informatics collaboration between DoD, VA continues

Officials from the U.S. Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) recently met to discuss the ongoing collaboration to further develop a single medical informatics platform, reports Healthcare IT News.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki met earlier this week at the Pentagon to discuss developments in the clinical informatics network project. The Interagency Program Office created by the two organizations, which is under new leadership, was also discussed at the meeting.

The project is one of the most ambitious in the country. Interoperability between the two organizations remains a challenge, given the substantial volume of patient health records maintained by both groups. However, officials are confident that these challenges can be overcome, and that the project is progressing satisfactorily.

“The vision Secretary Panetta and I share is to provide an integrated, seamless experience to our people across their lifetimes, from when they raise their hands to take the oath, to when they leave active service and join the veteran ranks, to when they are laid to rest with final honors,” said Shinseki, as quoted by the news source. “Over the past three years, VA and DoD have made significant progress, but more work remains.”

According to the VA’s official blog, the medical informatics system currently in development, known as VistA, is based on open source code. Key objectives of the project are to treat traumatic brain injuries often experienced by military personnel more effectively through the use of healthcare IT; expand the use of telemedicine to reach more former service members covered by VA medical programs; and to help armed forces personnel and their families cope with the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder.

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