DoD, VA Officials Grilled Over EHR in Closed-Door Meeting

Mike O'Brien

Officials from the VA and Defense Department have been grilled by lawmakers on the House Veterans Affairs Committee in a closed-door meeting about the progress of their electronic health records (EHR) program.

Lawmakers wanted answers on the slow moving process and are said to have "read the riot act" to Defense Department Deputy Chief Management Officer Beth McGrath (pictured).

Also in attendence were DoD's Under Secretary for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics Frank Kendall, VA's Acting Chief Information Officer Stephen Warren, and Interagency Program Office (IPO) Director Barclay Butler.

As part of an ongoing review by the committee, the subcommittee on oversight and investigations queried VA, DoD and the IPO on the challenges that are hindering EHR progress.

Only the IPO responded to the committee in a timely manner, Fierce Government reports.

In a written response to the committee, the IPO said that instead of focusing on an integrated health record system, the IPO is focused on creating a "common information interoperability framework to normalize data."

The statement added: "Data sharing between DoD and VA, and with other federal agencies and the private sector currently occurs via a collection of data sharing mechanisms that have been developed over the years."

These programs include Federal Health Information Exchange, Bidirectional Health Information Exchange, Clinical/Health Data Repository, Virtual Lifetime Electronic Health Record and 2013 Data Interoperability Accelerators, all of which use different data formats and standards, writes the office.

The challenges facing providers and federal agencies will be discussed at IDGA’s DoD/VA EHR Integration event in September. For full details, go to