-- The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs are scrapping their joint effort to create an Integrated Electronic Health Record (iEHR) system by 2017, after spending about $1 billion on the project.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki and Department of Defense (DoD) Secretary Leon Panetta made the announcement Feb. 5 at VA's Central Office here.
The iEHR was previously lauded by VA and DoD as a solution to the ongoing problem of incompatibility between the two departments' electronic health record systems (VA's VISTA and DoD's ALTA).
"We applaud both secretaries for their efforts in trying to develop a truly seamless solution to this problem," said James E. Koutz, national commander of The American Legion. "But our veterans are the real losers in this decision. Without a joint DoD-VA record that is easy to access, veterans have to ask for copies, and those requests often take months to process."
"We understand the financial constraints that both departments are under," Koutz said. "We're cautiously optimistic about the new plan and eagerly wait to hear more details."