VA to offer electronic health record system to industry

The Veterans Affairs Department is making a version of its VistA electronic health records system available to private physicians and hospitals at a nominal cost.

VA will begin distributing the software in late 2005, the department said yesterday.

'VA is proud to lead the health care industry in the use of information technology. The expertise we have gained, however, belongs to the American public,' said Dr. Jonathan Perlin, VA's acting under secretary for health. 'With our federal partners, we're making it easier for the private-sector health care industry to make use of this electronic system for health care records,' he said.

The VA is working with the Health and Human Services Department to promote adoption of health care IT systems such as electronic health records and e-prescribing. (GCN coverage)

VistA offers health care providers a complete electronic record for patient care, including reminders for preventive health care, electronic entry of pharmaceutical orders, display of laboratory results, consultation requests, x-rays and pathology slides. VA uses its VistA system at more than 1,300 of its facilities to maintain records on 5 million veterans who receive their health care from VA.

The District of Columbia Health Department and health care systems in Finland, Germany, Egypt and Nigeria also use the VA electronic record system.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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