At a media roundtable last month, military officials demonstrated a viewer they say provides an integrated view of electronic health record data that can be shared between the Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs. However, Rep. William Hurd (R-Tex.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Information Technology, says the read-only viewer falls far short in achieving truly interoperable DOD-VA EHRs. 

“The Joint Legacy Viewer (JLV) is not true interoperability,” argues Hurd, who likens the technology to using read-only microfiche that is not interactive. “Being able to see data is not the same as being able to manipulate it for the benefit of the patient.”

Nonetheless, during last month’s media roundtable, Defense Health Agency user integration branch chief Brian Jones demonstrated the viewer, which uses a browser-based graphical user interface and eliminates the need for DOD and VA clinicians to access separate viewers to obtain specific patient information from the other agency. Jones said that “the data the JLV is exposing is actually all the way from when somebody enters the military, all the way through deployment, and also follows them to the VA.”

Likewise, Chris Miller, program executive officer for Defense Healthcare Management Systems, told members of the press that by seeing a patient's combined record, doctors will have a complete picture of the patient's medical treatment, allowing clinicians to make the best choices for the patient.

“What we really want to be able to show is the progress we’ve made and demonstrate our commitment to making sure that we're providing tools that are useful for our providers but also making things better for our service-member veterans and their families,” Miller said.

Last month, DOD informed Congress that it has met the interoperability requirements for EHRs called for in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2014. The NDAA requires that DOD and VA EHR systems are interoperable with an integrated display of data. Toward that end, the two agencies are using the common JLV.

Also See: DOD Says it Meets Congressional EHR Interoperability Criteria

Yet, Hurd says “this is not about checking a box, but about getting quality healthcare for our veterans and their families.” And, the congressman says he will “continue to hold the DOD and VA accountable to making veterans’ healthcare records not just digitally viewable, but also truly useful as veterans make their transition out of the military.”

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