Jon Stewart Weighs in on Defense-VA E-Health Record Standoff

Bob Brewin | NextGov | March 29, 2013

In one of those delicious coincidences that make life enjoyable, on Wednesday afternoon Stephen Warren, the Veterans Affairs Department acting chief information officer, told a handful of reporters that VA’s Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture -- or  VistA -- electronic health record stands out as a world class system that would serve the Defense Department well.

Later that night, Jon Stewart delivered a strong endorsement of VistA on The Daily Show on Comedy Central, describing it as a “generally superior program” to the Defense Department electronic health record AHLTA, or Armed Forces Health Longitudinal Technology Application.

On Feb. 27, VA formally pitched VistA to Defense, which has been shopping around for a new EHR. Warren said Wednesday that by using the same EHR, Defense and VA could eliminate the need to translate information as records are shifted between the two. Stewart hammered home the lack of compatibility between AHLTA and VistA -- well known inside the Beltway -- to his national audience. “These two programs are unable to communicate with each other,” Stewart said, paused, and added, “I swear to you this is true -- how insane is this complication?”...