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AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2012;2012:51-60. Epub 2012 Nov 3.

Toward a Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record: the Department of Veterans Affairs experience with the Nationwide Health Information Network.

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  • 1U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Washington, DC, USA.


Health information exchange is expected of all electronic health records (EHRs) in order to ensure safe, quality care coordination. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has a long history of information exchange across VA facilities and with the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD). However, since a majority of VA and DoD patients receive a portion of their health care from the private sector, it is essential that both agencies enable health information exchange with private sector providers. This has been made possible by the use of the specifications and trust agreement developed by the Nationwide Health Information Network (NwHIN) initiative. Currently, VA has 12 medical centers exchanging information with the private sector and is evaluating the value of the exchange. The authors report on the success of these pilots as well as on the challenges, which include stricter technical specifications and a more efficient approach to patient identification (ID) matching and consent management.


Direct Project; EHR; HIE; Nationwide Health Information Network; NwHIN; NwHIN Direct; Standards; VLER; Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record; electronic health record; health information exchange; pilot

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