Veterans Affairs to adopt same medical records system as Pentagon

The Department of Veterans Affairs will adopt the same medical records system as the Department of Defense to ensure “seamless care,” Secretary David Shulkin announced Monday.

To date, the VA and DoD have not used the same Electronic Health Record (EHR) system, though they have worked together in a bid to create a “consistent and accurate” view of individual medical information.

“VA’s adoption of the same EHR system as DoD will ultimately result in all patient data residing in one common system and enable seamless care between the Departments without the manual and electronic exchange and reconciliation of data between two separate systems,” Shulkin said on Monday.

Shulkin said if the departments were to stay on two different systems, they would continue to face “significant challenges.”

“The bottom line is we still don’t have the ability to trade information seamlessly for our veteran patients and seamlessly execute a share plan of acre with smooth handoffs,” Shulkin said. “At VA, we know where almost all of our veteran patients is going to come from – from the DoD, and for this reason, Congress has been urging the VA and DoD for the last 17 years – from all the way back in 2000—to work more closely on EHR issues.”

President Trump touted Shulkin’s announcement at the White House on Monday, during a separate announcement about his plan to privatize air traffic control.

“This has caused massive problems for our veterans, and we are finally taking steps to solve this situation once and for all,” Trump said. “Records will now be able to follow the veteran when they leave service—meaning faster, better—far better, quality care.”

Shulkin previously announced he would make a decision on EHR by July 1, but made his announcement weeks early, saying the current VA health system is in need of “major modernization.”

Shulkin said the VA will look into adopting “significant” cybersecurity enhancements which will “enable seamless healthcare to veterans and qualified beneficiaries.”

Shulkin added:  “Our mission is too important not to get this right and we will.”

Trump called it “one of the biggest wins” for veterans in “decades.”