VA's health services portal to launch in September

The Veterans Affairs Department is ramping up its HealtheVet services portal for a nationwide release in mid-September.

Through a contract VA awarded last week for just less than $1 million, HealthGate Data Corp. of Burlington, Mass., and PlanetGov Inc. of Chantilly, Va., will provide health care information and integration services for the system.

The portal ultimately will give veterans secure access to their health records via an application called eVAult. It will let veterans personalize their accounts with links to information explaining their records and medical conditions.

When fully interactive in April, veterans will be able to track their medical data and make appointments, refill prescriptions, enter self-taken information such as blood pressure and chart their conditions, said Ginger Price, VA's acting director for health informatics strategy.

Under the $921,500, one-year contract, HealthGate will provide up to 80,000 pages of health information on diseases and conditions and suites of health assessment tools. HealtheVet will go live nationally in mid-September as an information site, with clinical content on how to treat certain conditions and self-assessment features. Veterans will also find program offices and benefit information in one place, Price said.

Currently, the service is available only to test users at VA medical centers in Bay Pines and Tampa, Fla.; Buffalo and Canandaigua, N.Y.; and Washington. VA will continue to collect data from the test users about the system's performance as more features come online, Price said.

Later this year, VA plans to add the prescription refill capability. Early next year, veterans will be able to view their co-pay balances, make appointments and enter self- metrics. In the last phase, the department will implement the health record feature, Price said.

The Veterans Health Administration developed a HealtheVet pilot, working with EDS Corp. and Microsoft Corp. But when it fields the live portal, VA will switch to a Java platform and Oracle Corp. database and back-end applications.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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