DoD, VA records may be linked to private providers health IT project

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A recently-launched research project will explore how health data from the Department of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) departments can be shared with private healthcare providers.

The project, the Military Interoperable Digital Hospital Testbed, announced Jan. 7, is a partnership between Northrop Grumman’s IT sector and Conemaugh Health Systems, a hospital group based in Johnstown, Pa.

Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., provided the congressional earmark to fund the project, which the Army’s Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) in Fort Detrick, Md., is managing.

“The primary goal is to address how clinical information from DoD and VA systems can be shared with physicians in a rural environment,” said Robert Cothren, director of the clinical information systems division at Northrop Grumman IT. “We are planning to develop an interface so that private sector doctors can have access to those records.”

Lt. Col. Hon Pak, TATRC’s manager for the venture, said that 60 percent of patients in the veterans’ healthcare system are seen by private payors.

Pak said that Northrop Grumman IT hopes to “develop a portal which is compatible with the National Health Information Network.”