The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has become the newest member of The National Association for Trusted Exchange, and the VA will participate in the NATE Blue Button for Consumers (NBB4C) Trust Bundle.
By joining NATE, the VA is demonstrating a commitment to consumer choice and access to data for VA patients, according to an announcement from NATE. NATE launched the NBB4C Trust Bundle last year to enable more interoperable patient-mediated exchange. NATE’s trust bundles leverage Direct Messaging protocols for sharing information between provider-controlled electronic health records (EHRs) and consumer-controlled CFAs, so that consumers can then do what they want their own data.
Becoming a member of NATE will allow VA to collaborate on policies and procedures for sharing trusted health information with consumers outside of the VA health system through the use of Direct Messaging and other electronic transport protocols. With the majority of veterans receiving some portion of their care at a health care facility that is not part of the Veterans Health Administration, giving veterans the ability to share their health data with a consumer controlled application enables the veteran to mediate who has access to their data, one outcome of which is improved coordination of care, according the NATE announcement.
VA Under Secretary for Health David Shuklin, M.D., said in a statement, “VA is currently testing functionality that enables veterans to share their health information with providers outside the VA and to integrate their data into a growing number of safe and secure health-related consumer applications. Participating in NATE allows VA to continue to be a national leader in enabling our veteran patients to take control over their health information and become informed and active partners in their overall healthcare.”