House members seek to advance EHR interoperability between VA, DOD

In an effort to move forward on EHR interoperability efforts between the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense, members of the U.S. House of Representatives have proposed amendments to the agencies' joint management initiatives, Washington Technology reports.

In June, the VA and DOD announced their intent to form a joint office to lead implementation of the agencies' Cerner-based EHRs as well as interoperability efforts between the systems. The Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization Program Office aims to oversee roll out of the systems as well as serve as the deciding authority on future EHR decisions.

However, house members have complained that the VA and DOD are moving too slow on starting the office, which the agencies have yet to name permanent leaders for, according to the report. An amendment presented by Rep. Susie Lee, D-Nev., chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Technology Modernization of the House Veterans Affairs Committee, supports a DOD-VA management over "functional, technical and programmatic activities that are jointly used, carried out, and shared by the departments," the publication reports.

While Ms. Lee's amendment tasks the VA and DOD with establishing and managing the joint office, Rep. Conor Lamb, D-Pa., offered an amendment that would require FEHRM to work with an outside contractor to monitor the agencies' progress on achieving interoperability benchmarks.

The VA and DOD are currently deciding which department should lead the office and whether initiatives should focus on technology integration or clinical and policy matters, according to the report. Regarding leadership, the VA is expected to name the interim director while the DOD will appoint the interim deputy director of the office, the publication reports. 

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