Allegheny Health Network (AHN), based in Pittsburgh, and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS), have announced the successful integration of their electronic medical record (EMR) platforms. According to officials, the two organizations can now exchange veterans’ health records securely and seamlessly.
The first records were shared across the AHN and VA EMR platforms last fall, and to date more than 1,700 documents have been exchanged, per an announcement from the organizations last week. Connecting with VA’s EMR platform, known as Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER), affords AHN providers electronic access to veterans’ health records stored at any of VA’s 1,233 healthcare facilities nationwide, including VAPHS. Veterans’ participation is strictly voluntary, and requires in-person authorization.
Robert White, M.D., CMIO at Allegheny Health Network, noted that AHN was particularly excited to establish a program to help better serve the nation’s veterans. “So many of our patients seek care from both private and VA-based providers that integrating their information is essential to providing optimal care. It’s a real privilege for us to be able to provide this improved level of care to those who have served our country,” he said.
VAPHS Director Karin McGraw agreed the records integration is beneficial to veterans. “It’s absolutely essential for VA, as well, to be able to see all clinical and laboratory records so we can provide optimal care for our patients—especially now, with many veterans receiving healthcare outside the VA through the Veterans Choice Program. The records integration puts this information at our fingertips,” McGraw said.
EMR integration with other government agencies is also underway at AHN. In January, AHN began sharing its records with the Social Security Administration and is averaging roughly 1,200 document exchanges a month with the agency. The Department of Defense is in the onboarding process with the network.
AHN is currently implementing the Epic EMR across all of its provider sites. The system has already been launched at the network’s Allegheny General, West Penn and Forbes hospitals, as well as at its Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion and in most of its employed physician practices. When completed, officials attest that AHN will be the region’s only healthcare system to be integrated by a single EMR.
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