VA, DOD Integrated Health Program Makes Some, But Not Enough Progress, GAO Says

Henry Kenyon | Fierce Government IT | July 10, 2014

The troubled effort by the departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense to combine their electronic health records into a single system has partially met goals set by Congress. But investigators say improvement is needed before more funding can be allocated to the initiative.

Initially, the goal of the integrated Electronic Health Record program, or iEHR, was to create a single, common electronic health record system to replace the existing systems of both departments. But, as the program progressed, the focus changed to modernizing and replacing their existing systems and ensuring interoperability between the two, said a new Government Accountability Office report (pdf) released July 8.  

The 2013 Further Continuing Appropriations Act restricted development funds for both departments to 25 percent of previous funding levels until the departments could submit a spending plan to the Senate and House Appropriation Committees. A key part of this requirement was meeting six conditions, which included a GAO review.  According to that review, the DOD and VA satisfied one requirement and partially met the other five. Specifically, they met the condition to share detailed rules that outlined cost-sharing provisions and principles within the VA/DOD Interagency Program Office...