Congress Demands VA, DoD EHR Interoperability Progress

Anthony Brino | Government Health IT | December 13, 2013

Under the new defense authorization bill, the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Defense Department will have just about a month to develop a plan for interoperable digital health records.

By the end of January, the two departments will have to provide Congress with “a detailed plan for the oversight and execution of the interoperable electronic health records with an integrated display of data, or a single electronic health record.” Then they’ll have almost three years, by the end of 2016, to actually deploy a “modernized electronic health record software supporting clinicians of the Department,” as directed in the $625 billion 2014 National Defense Authorization Act that passed the House and was expected to pass the Senate before lawmakers adjourn for recess Friday December 13.

After years of delaying iEHR or interoperability between the VA and the military’s health system, the Defense Health Agency, and some $300 million spent by an interagency office on support contracts, lawmakers working on military and veterans issues have grown increasingly impatient and critical of the work and lackthereof.