VA, Pentagon Eye 3M's Health Data Dictionary for Joint EHR Project

The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs might be planning to use 3M's Health Data Dictionary to standardize terminology for their joint integrated electronic health record project, or iEHR project, Government Health IT reports (Sullivan, Government Health IT, 4/2). 

VA and DOD are integrating their EHR systems so every service member can maintain a single EHR throughout his or her career and lifetime (iHealthBeat, 3/22).

A final contract between the agencies and 3M has not been made public.

Details From Baker

Although 3M declined to comment, Government Health IT reports that VA CIO Roger Baker confirmed by email that the agencies will use a version of 3M's database of health terminology.

According to Government Health IT, Baker wrote, "Our agreement with DOD is that we will use an open version of the HDD."

Potential Implications

If VA and DOD use 3M's HDD, they could make the terminology database available through the Open Source Electronic Health Record Agent, which is overseeing the open source aspects of the iEHR project.

Baker wrote, "We hope that, by establishing standards for data and interfaces, making them publicly available, executing through the open source and buying packages that meet the standards, we will encourage the community to use those standards more broadly than just the iEHR" (Government Health IT, 4/2).

According to FierceHealthIT, if the agencies contract with 3M, HDD could become a commonly used standard for health terminology (Terry, FierceHealthIT, 4/3).


to share your thoughts on this article.