VA’s Virtual Lifetime EHR to be expanded

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The Department of Veteran’s Affairs (VA) has announced plans to expand its Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) medical informatics system to include more former servicemen and women in the pilot program.

“[Expansion] of the VLER pilot program will allow more Veterans and facilities to participate in this exciting new technology,” Eric Shinseki, secretary for VA, said in a statement. “I invite Veterans to sign up for the program. It will keep health care providers informed, improve continuity and timeliness of care, and eliminate gaps in health care information.”

The VLER initiative aims to improve the quality of care for veterans through the sharing of medical data between approved healthcare providers that belong to the Nationwide Health Information Network, the Department of Defense, and the VA. The medical informatics network also features a number of tools designed to enable information regarding member benefits, personnel records and administrative information to be shared across the secure network.

The VA’s goal of implementing the clinical informatics system across 11 healthcare facilities as part of a wider health information exchange is on schedule, and the organization hopes to enroll more than 50,000 VA patients as part of the pilot program by later this autumn.

According to Healthcare IT News, sites that are already participating in the program include the San Diego VA Medical Center, the Hunter Holmes McGuire facility in Richmond, Virginia, and the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center in Indianapolis. Facilities that are included in the VA’s expansion plans include hospitals across the Utah Health Information Network, healthcare facilities belonging to the HEALTHeLINK Health Information Exchange throughout upstate New York, and the VA Puget Sound Health Care System in Washington.