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VA, Fairchild join electronic health records program

Spokane-area military veterans and active-duty service members will be able to sign up for electronic exchange of their health records between their public and private-sector health care providers and doctors under a pilot program announced today.

The Spokane Veterans Administration Medical Center and Fairchild Air Force Base are teaming up with Inland Northwest Health Services to securely exchange electronic health records using the Nationwide Health Information Network, VA officials announced this morning.

The program, open to patients who receive health care from the VA and from selected hospitals and providers in the Spokane area, is a step toward implementation of virtual lifetime electronic records, which the VA says will help prevent misplaced paperwork and help providers maintain and offer quality health care.

“This new technology allows safer, more secure, and private access to electronic health information, and we look forward to working with INHS to enhance patient care,” Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki said in a statement.

The Spokane pilot is planned to run through 2012. It’s the fourth pilot health information exchange the VA has created with private medical providers.

INHS, a Spokane-based non-profit corporation, connects 38 hospitals and health care facilities, allowing physicians and providers to securely access patient information using wired and wireless technologies. The INHS network includes more than 4,000 physicians, 450 clinics and physician offices and 3.5 million electronic medical records.

“More than 5,500 active military personnel are stationed at Fairchild Air Force Base, (and) thousands of veterans and their families call the greater Spokane region home,” Tom Fritz, CEO of INHS, said in a statement. “We are honored to work with VA and the Department of Defense to build on a nationally-recognized health information network to provide an even more efficient health information delivery system.”


 

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