December 1, 2009

On November 25, 2009, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in collaborationwith Kaiser Permanente, introduced a new pilot program to enhance services andcare to this Nation’s veterans. The pilot program, set to begin mid-December 2009in San Diego, California, connects Kaiser Permanente Health Connect® and theVA’s electronic health record system, VistA, two of the largest electronic healthrecord systems in the country.

The program will be executed by VA and Kaiser Permanente who will submit ajoint letter to resident veterans who receive care from both organizations. Theletter invites veterans to participate in this pilot program, which is a first of itskind. Veterans who respond to the letter will have to permit their public/privatehealth care providers and doctors to share pertinent health informationelectronically. VA and Kaiser Permanente proclaims that information sharedelectronically is safe, secure, and categorized as private.

VA and Kaiser Permanente also states that veterans’ access to care will not beaffected at either organization if they choose not to participate; however, patientswho choose to participate will benefit by allowing their doctors at eitherorganization to obtain key health record information from other participatinginstitutions.

According to VA Secretary, Eric K. Shinseki, “Utilization of the NHIN’s standardsand network will allow organizations like VA and the Department of Defense topartner with private sector health care providers to promote better, faster and safer care for veterans.”

The pilot program connects Kaiser Permanente Health Connect® and the VA’s electronic health record system, VistA, two of the largest electronic health record systems in the country.