VA says an interoperable EHR can reduce veteran suicide.


Veterans are people who have fought for us in various countries. After all those terrifying war experiences, they come home and find healthcare far from their reach. This leads coupled by some other personals reasons, leads them to commit suicide. Thankfully the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is working on this issue and they are of the view that a proper Health IT infrastructure can reduce veteran suicide.

The idea behind it revolves around introducing an interoperable EHR system that will enable Department of Veterans Affairs to better coordinate veteran care. Speaking on this matter Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin said, “One of the areas that we’ve identified is a gap in the transition — when you leave the military and all of a sudden you no longer have that structure that you were used to, and what happens to you before you get enrolled into either VA healthcare or community healthcare. That no longer is going to happen.”

Dr. Shulkin said that his top clinical priority remains to reduce veteran suicide. And to do this along with ensuring flawless exchange of patient information between healthcare providers the VA plans on acquiring the same EHR being used by the Department of Defense (DOD). The mentioned EHR is developed by company Cerner and is called MHS Genesis.

Through the use of an interoperable EHR system all DOD and VA patient data will be collected and secured in a single system. This will allow veterans medical records to follow them throughout their medical care journey.

Dr. Shulkin further stressed the VA will create an integrated EHR system and perfect it by embedding capabilities from other vendors into it. “VA has unique needs that are different than the Department of Defense’s.,” he explained. Shulkin said that the VA, in its way of adopting an identical Electronic Medical Record Software to DOD, will need additional capabilities to enhance interoperability with their community providers.

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