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VA hospital, health-info exchange enter pilot project

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The Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Indiana Health Information Exchange have long used electronic medical records to help improve efficiency and reduce errors in medical care. Now, the two organizations are going to work to make their systems talk to each other in a pilot project spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Department will invite veterans who receive medical care both at Roudebush and at private health care providers around central Indiana to sign up for the pilot. Records for those patients that participate could be swapped from the VA providers to the private doctors and hospitals as needed.

The Indiana Health Information Exchange provides access to the records of more than 6 million patients through its partnerships with 60 hospitals and the Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute Inc., which maintains decades of Indianapolis patient records in a database.

The VA hospital in Indianapolis will communicate with the Indiana Health Information Exchange using a new “gateway” set up by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Called the Nationwide Health Information Network, it provides the technical and legal framework to allow patient information to be swapped electronically and securely.

“This new technology allows safer, more secure, and private access to electronic health information, which, in turn, enhances our ability to continue providing veterans with the quality care that they have earned,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki in a prepared statement.

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