Top officials at the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments announced that the agencies will begin working toward a common inpatient electronic health record. Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson and William Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, made the announcement at a meeting of the American Health Information Community, an HHS advisory group. Few details were given. Nicholson said the program has the potential to serve as a model for other healthcare systems and result in significant savings for taxpayers. The first step of the joint effort will be to examine each department's clinical processes and study the benefits and impacts of a joint inpatient EHR on each department's own information technology development efforts. Winkenwerder said the timing was right as both departments were looking to upgrade their systems. The defense departments clinical IT system was originally based on the Veterans Administrations system, but with modifications over time, they became incompatible. -- by Andis Robeznieks
DOD, VA to work on common record
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