As President Trump moves to fulfill his campaign promises, including Department of Veterans Affairs reforms, Secretary Shulkin and VA’s senior leadership are continuing VA’s business transformation efforts aimed at maximizing efficiency, embracing innovation and, most importantly, providing our nation’s heroes with the superior quality healthcare and services they have earned. Secretary Shulkin has clarified a recent series of executive orders by reiterating there are no plans to privatize VA, but the department will move forward with a hybrid approach combining the best of VA’s capabilities with the best of the private sector. According to the Secretary, the VA will achieve this transformation by implementing “an integrated system of care” in which expertise and systems developed over years by the VA will be amalgamated with industry-leading services from the private sector.
In 2015 the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was facing a problem. As the VA OI&T organization was charging forward to align with target architectural goals and prepare for the next phase of clinical data sharing with the DoD and other partners the VHA clinicians were becoming concerned. Their clinical data sharing applications, used daily in the treatment of thousands of veterans, which provide access to longitudinal health data from the DoD were slated to be sunset, and a viable replacement was not yet available on the enterprise level. VHA clinical staff recognized that this issue was not just a mere inconvenience but had the potential to cause patient safety issues and negatively impact the overall quality of care provided to our nation's Veterans.
Beyond Agile: Ellumen Inc. Brings Silicon Valley Testing Practices to VA/DoD Data Sharing Initiative
The Agile movement hasn’t just changed Federal government software procurement and development – it has undoubtedly whet the most influential Federal Government DoD and VA leaders’ appetites for more Silicon Valley innovation. But what else is out there – what is the next big thing to emerge? Beyond Agile, another technique called dark launch has been used in the VA’s DoD FHIR service for sharing healthcare information between the agencies’ enormous healthcare systems. It is just one of the ways that Ellumen is bringing Silicon Valley’s proven and successful testing methods to Federal Health IT customers.
The dream of a robust, interoperable EHR (Electronic Health Record) begins and ends with simple standards. Logic would tell us that if we all just implement using the same standards, then all of our EHR/PHR (personal health records) software systems could just discover each other and interoperate, providing us a way to:
- Find other organizations’ services
- Establish secure communications with other organizations
- Search for a patient
- Search for a patient’s data
- Transfer a patient’s data
- Comply with HIPAA/Privacy Act and other regulations governing the sharing of health data
FHIR (pronounced 'Fire') stands for Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources.
FHIR is the latest standard developed under the HL7 organization, and contains the promises to serve as a good alternative to the HL7 standards. According to HL7: