VA, Kaiser Permanente invite veterans to pilot program
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and healthcare nonprofit organization Kaiser Permanente recently announced a pilot program designed to exchange EHR information using the Nationwide Health Information Network (NHIN) created by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

This initial pilot is planned to begin in mid-December 2009.

“Utilizing the NHIN’s standards and network will allow organizations like the VA and the Department of Defense (DoD) to partner with private sector healthcare providers to promote care for Veterans,” said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki.

Last week, the VA and Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente sent a joint invitation letter to veterans in the San Diego area who receive care from both institutions to participate in this pilot program.

The pilot program connects Kaiser Permanente HealthConnect and the VA’s EHR system, VistA.

The program puts the highest priority on patient privacy and data security, and no exchange of information will occur without the explicit permission of the individual patient. Patient information will not be shared without first obtaining their consent.

The VA, DoD and HHS have been working closely to create a system that will modernize the way healthcare is delivered and benefits are administered. DoD will be included in the next phase of the pilot program in early 2010.