DoD, VA collaborate for better health IT interoperability

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The Department of Defense (DoD) announced last week the organization-wide release of enhancements that allow DoD to share electronic health information with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) through the Bidirectional Health Information Exchange (BHIE) and the Clinical Data Repository/Health Data Repository (CHDR) interfaces. 
“These enhancements demonstrate the unprecedented level of interoperabilty that DoD and VA have been able to achieve with our electronic health record systems, and they contribute significantly to patient safety and continuity of care,” said Dr. S. Ward Casscells, assistant secretary of defense for Health Affairs.
With the new enhancements, each agency is now able to view the other agency's clinical encounters, medical procedures, and lists of medical problems on shared patients using BHIE (formerly CHCS-VistA DSI). BHIE is a joint information technology data exchange initiative between the VA and DoD that permits clinicians from both agencies to view electronic healthcare data from each other's systems, VA's Computerized Patient Record System and DoD's Composite Health Care System (CHCS).This adds to the pharmacy, allergy, microbiology, and chemistry/hematology data, as well as radiology reports that were made available earlier this year. Additionally, DoD providers also are able to view combat zone data (including inpatient data) from the Theater Medical Data Store.
The CHDR interface software actively synchronizes data between DoD and VA repositories for patients who receive health services from both agencies. DoD said that synchronization significantly increases patient safety by enabling drug-drug and drug-allergy interaction checks with data from DoD, VA, and retail pharmacies. CHDR has been operating on a limited basis since late 2007, but new configuration enhancements have enabled all sites to view data on shared patients.