DOD, VA To Accelerate Timeline for Deploying Joint EHR System

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Department of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki have agreed to accelerate the implementation of the joint DOD and VA electronic health record system, NextGov reports (Brewin, NextGov, 12/6).

Panetta made the announcement Thursday at a joint press conference with Shinseki after the leaders held their 11th meeting on improving the integration of their departments (Serbu, Federal News Radio, 12/7).

Background

President Obama first announced the integrated EHR, or iEHR, project in 2009. The joint system will allow every service member to maintain a single EHR throughout his or her career and lifetime.

DOD and VA previously said that they do not expect to fully implement the iEHR system until 2017 (iHealthBeat, 8/8).

When DOD and VA complete the deployment of the iEHR initiative, it will be the largest EHR system in the world, serving 9.7 million military personnel and 7.8 million veterans (NextGov, 12/6).

Details of the Faster iEHR Rollout

In announcing the accelerated timeline, Panetta said, "[W]e want to be able to meet or beat the schedule that we've established as targets here."

He said that he and Shinseki have asked that a plan for a new iEHR deployment schedule be presented to them by early January 2013.

Officials from DOD and VA said that specific details about the revised timeline will not be available until the DOD-VA Integrated Program Office presents its plan to Panetta and Shinseki next month (Federal News Radio, 12/7).

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