VA Official: Meaningful-Use Push For VistA EHR Will Benefit Patients

Joseph Conn | | October 25, 2012

The U.S. Veterans Affairs Department will lend more than moral support to a federal effort to boost the meaningful use of health information technology by submitting its venerable VistA electronic health-record system for testing and certification for use in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive payment programs.

A health IT leader at the VA also says veterans will benefit from the move when the VistA system is not only tweaked for testing but also enhanced by what will likely be a historic breakthrough in code-sharing with a community of developers of VistA-derivative systems..."We're going to try to get certified on everything for inpatient and outpatient," said Dr. Theresa Cullen, director of health informatics for the VHA...Why the change at the VA? Part of it is setting a good example, and part is keeping up with care improvement, according to Cullen.

"I think the message is the VA really believes we are a leader in health information technology and we understand how, as a leader, we acknowledge the leadership of the office of the national coordinator," Cullen said. "If you look at what's required in certification, all of it benefits patient care. Striving for meaningful use will help us deliver better care for the veterans."...