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VA, DoD Secretaries Meet, Talk EHRs

February 29, 2012
by Gabriel Perna
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Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta recently welcomed Secretary of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric K. Shinseki to the Pentagon for the latest in a series of regular meetings the two on issues of common interest to both Departments including development of the military’s electronic health record (EHR) system.

The meeting focused on four other area where the two Departments have joined efforts on behalf of the nation's Service Members and Veterans including the Disability Evaluation System, Transition programs, joint Pharmacy initiatives, and Recovery Coordination for the wounded, ill, and injured.

Panetta and Shinseki talked about the steps forward on electronic health records, noting that the Interagency Program Office established by the two Departments to provide leadership in building the joint integrated electronic health records system has brought about new leaders. In addition , they  were pdated on development of the Graphical User Interface program, reporting that doctors at the James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center at North Chicago can now view both VA and DoD patient records simultaneously on a single monitor.  

According to the DoD, Lovell is a first-of-its-kind partnership between VA and DoD to provide integrated care to Service members and Veterans in the same facility and has been a testing ground for the Departments' efforts to deliver a fully integrated electronic health record for all Service members and Veterans.  Panetta and Shinseki are expected to meet again this May in Chicago to visit the Lovell Center and to review progress on deliverables the two Departments have committed to achieve by the end of the year, including: a detailed implementation plan for the revised transition assistance program; spurring development of electronic transfer of patient files, to reduce both the processing and mailing costs incurred by paper transfer and disability evaluation processing times; and finalizing a contract for joint pharmacy capability at the Lovell Center.

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