House Committee to Hold Hearing on Decision to Drop integrated EHR (iEHR)
The House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will hold a hearing later this month on the decision made by the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Veterans Affairs (VA) to halt development plans on an integrated electronic health record system. The joint decision by the two departments was announced earlier this month, saying the plan now is to pursue less expensive technologies for making their respective EHR systems interoperable rather than continue development of the iEHR initiative.
The iEHR initiative was first announced in 2009 with a goal to develop a joint system for military service members and veterans. The DOD and VA set a 2017 target date for a fully implemented iEHR system, making it the biggest EHR system in the world. In December the two departments said they would meet a preliminary rollout of the iERH in 2014. Less than two months later on February 6, 2013 they announced that instead of continuing to develop the iEHR, they would focus instead on making each departments EHR systems more interoperable. Reaction to the decision from both sides of the aisle was swift:
Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C), the ranking member of the Senate committee, said: “The fact that VA and DoD would reverse course on a plan they have been working towards for years that would create a coordinated electronic health record system between the two agencies is concerning and disappointing.
Rep. Mike Michaud (D-Maine), ranking member of the House committee, said: “This is a huge setback and completely unacceptable. For years we have been told by both agencies that progress was made and that things were on track.
The House Committee hearing, Electronic Health Record U-Turn: Are VA and DoD Headed in the Wrong Direction? is scheduled for Wednesday, February 27th starting at 9:15 a.m. A witness list has yet to be released.