Not So Fast, Congress: VistA is More Interoperable Than You Think

The Department of Veterans Affairs has been under fire for years for its electronic health record VistA and the lack of interoperability with the Department of Defense’s EHR and other systems.

But while VistA may have its flaws, the VA and others insist that interoperability is not one of them.

“VA is a pioneer of interoperability,” said DSS Senior Health Informatics Consultant Deanne Clark. “VA continues to surge forward with interoperability with DoD, private sector and community care providers.”

A prime example? In 2009, the VA began data sharing with massive integrated health provider Kaiser Permanente — which runs on Epic. The agency also works with hundreds of hospitals and thousands of clinics. 

VA runs health exchanges through its Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record initiative, which encompasses the use of VA Exchange and Direct Messaging. Combined, the programs have partnered with about 250 healthcare organizations that connect with about 850 hospitals and thousands of clinic practices nationwide for about 1 million veterans.

Veterans can opt into the program, which connects their patient data to a long list of health providers like Walgreens, Mercy, University of Virginia Health System, INOVA Health System, Maine HealthInfoNet, Allina and Cedars-Sinai. 

Vermont’s HIE is now connected to VA. And in New York, Rochester-based Canandaigua VA Medical Center has begun to share data with the Statewide Health Information Network for New York.

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(Source: Healthcare IT News