GAO: DOD, VA interoperability attempts continue

The National Defense Authorization Act of 2008 required DOD and VA to accelerate their exchange of health information and to develop capabilities that allow for interoperability by Sept. 30, 2009, and establish a joint interagency program office to function as a single point of accountability for the effort.

According to the GAO, the DOD and VA previously established six objectives that they identified as necessary for achieving full interoperability, including refining social history data, sharing physical exam data, demonstrating initial network gateway operation, expanding questionnaires and self-assessment tools, expanding the EMR systems in DOD, and demonstrating initial document scanning.

Although completed, DOD and VA are planning additional action to increase their interoperable capabilities and address clinicians’ evolving needs for interoperable EHRs, including:

* Meet additional needs that have emerged with respect to social history and physical exam data such as date, location of care and type of document;

* Further expand the implementation of its inpatient medical records system to sites beyond those achieved as of September 2009, making the inpatient system operational for 90 percent of its inpatient beds by Jan. 31, 2011; and
* Test the capability to scan documents, in follow-up to their demonstration of an initial document scanning capability.

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