The Department of Veterans Affairs this week launched a new website to raise awareness of the agency’s Digital Health Platform–a cloud-based approach to integrating veterans health data to produce what the agency calls real-time, analytics-driven, personalized care.
The new site provides a detailed overview of how the DHP will work, the emerging technologies it will leverage, and provides user case studies to show how veterans will benefit from a comprehensive dashboard that can enable customized care.
VA’s Digital Health Platform is the agency’s vision for moving beyond a system centered on a specific electronic health record, or EHR. VA’s current EHR platform, known as VistA, is a 40-year-old system that the agency continues to modernize while it debates a potential commercial replacement.
“Much has changed at VA since VistA was first introduced,” states a fact sheet provided to MeriTalk by a VA spokesperson. “The average age of a Veteran has increased from 46 to 60, VA serves 500% more female Veterans, and the suite of specialty services the Department provides, like prosthetics and mental health care, has continued to expand.”
Announced earlier this year, VA’s Digital Health Platform is a 25-year strategy that goes well beyond the choice of an EHR, including financial management, CRM, supply chain management, and human resources. According to the new website, “DHP provides a comprehensive dashboard spanning a veteran’s complete health record. DHP is a cloud-based technology platform integrating Veteran data from VA, military and commercial electronic health records (EHRs), applications, devices and wearables to a Veteran’s healthcare team in real-time.”
During a Senate hearing in July, VA Chief Information Officer LaVerne Council described the Digital Health Platform as a system of systems. “It is not dependent on any particular EHR, and VA can integrate new or existing resources into the system without sacrificing data interoperability. One of the digital health platform’s defining features will be systemwide cloud integration, a marked improvement over the more than 130 instances of VistA that we have today,” Council said.
“A decision on the EHR component of DHP will be decided by the department after the business case and cost analysis is complete–as several EHR options are being evaluated,” a VA spokesman said. “DHP is agnostic to an EHR, and during the proof of concept, DHP was shown to work with VistA, Cerner, and Regenstrief GOPHER (a European EHR).”
The VA spokesman said the agency is working toward completing the business case and a rough cost estimate for the DHP later this month.
Digital Health Platform Case Study: Byron