The Departments of Defense (DoD) and Veterans Affairs (VA) expect to be able to share all complete EHRs of military members and veterans within a year, representatives of the departments reported to Congress this week.
The two agencies have shared text records, including discharge summaries and ER reports, but have not been able to share patients’ vital signs, laboratory data and family histories, according to Gerald Cross, MD, principal deputy under secretary of health in the VA's Veterans Health Administration.
Both VA and DoD officials said that despite the remaining issues, they have made significant improvements in their ability to exchange information about their patients.
Rep. Harry Mitchell, D-Ariz., chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, said he was pleased that “DoD and VA have made more progress is the past 12 to 18 months than they made in the preceding decade.”
According to both departments, this month they will begin sharing information on inpatient consultations and operating reports and VA doctors can obtain records of soldiers’ battlefield treatment.