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International

U.S. House urges DOD, VA to use common EHR

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Committee has passed a fiscal year 2007 spending bill and report calling for the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to create “to the maximum extent possible” common software platforms and data standards and repositories for their electronic health record systems.

The aim is to improve the feasibility of data sharing and reduce system development expenses, according to a news item in Government Health IT (www.govhealthit.com).

In the report, the Military Quality of Life and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee raised concerns about the departments’ progress with a medical data-sharing initiative, which began in 1998 when President Clinton issued a directive that the DOD, VA and HHS should work to create longitudinal EHRs for military personnel and veterans.

The document instructs the DOD and VA to report no later than December on their plans for the data-sharing systems and standards, Government Health IT said.

The DOD plans this year to deploy its Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology through the Military Health System, and the VA is working to launch a new EHR project to replace the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, which is old but widely praised.

If the bill becomes law, the country’s two largest hospital systems could be using identical platforms for their EHRs.

 

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