Utah Network, VA To Launch Data Exchange Involving Rural Regions

The Utah Health Information Network, the state's health data exchange, will conduct a pilot program with the Department of Veterans Affairs to coordinate care between VA facilities and private health care provider organizations, Health Data Management reports.

Utah's network will enable clinical health information exchange through the Nationwide Health Information Network (Goedert, Health Data Management, 12/2).

The pilot is the fifth nationwide that VA has launched to manage medical services between the agency and private health care providers using NHIN. The Utah pilot is the first to extend services to rural areas.

The program will let authorized physicians request and view documents from the exchange or from VA physicians in rural areas (CMIO, 12/2). About 70% of veterans receive some form of health care from private clinics and hospitals, according to VA (Health Data Management, 12/2).

The pilots are part of VA's Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record project, which aims to set up a single electronic system to track service members' records from enlistment throughout their status as veterans (Mosquera, Government Health IT, 12/3).

Rob McClenahan
If the data exchange program is successful, it will be intriguing to watch the adoption of this program into other states and Veterans Affairs divisions that would have the need for this streamlined service. The benefits of the “Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record’s” centralized accessibility of health information can be critical should a catastrophic illness occur.

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