MHS Increases Ability to Electronically Share Health Records with Federal and Private Sector Healthcare Partners
Vienna, VA – July 6, 2016 – The Department of Defense’s Military Health System (MHS) and the eHealth Exchange, an initiative of The Sequoia Project, have expanded cooperation to enable electronic health data sharing for more than 9.4 million active duty service members, veterans, retirees, and families served by the MHS. Following a successful pilot, the MHS increased its presence on the eHealth Exchange, expanding enterprise-wide and providing medical professionals at partner healthcare organizations with authorized access to health records for all TRICARE beneficiaries starting on June 1, 2016, unless a patient chose to opt out. The MHS will continue to share the records of Active Duty personnel.
By sharing information with the MHS through the eHealth Exchange, private sector healthcare providers have a more complete and secure view of an MHS patient’s health record to support better care decisions. Additionally, MHS patients do not have to hand-carry copies of health records when seeking care from partner providers.
Being able to share health records with non-military health facilities is critical to effectively care for military personnel and their families. This is illustrated by the fact that in 2015, roughly one-third of outpatient and 40% of inpatient care for MHS beneficiaries was provided by private, non-military care providers. Approximately one-third of MHS prescriptions were filled in the private sector as well.
The MHS uses the eHealth Exchange network to share healthcare data with the private sector. The MHS began electronic health records exchange in select communities, prioritized by beneficiary population, and plans to aggressively increase the number of connections in the next year.
The largest health data sharing network of its kind, the eHealth Exchange network includes participation from nearly 50% of all U.S. hospitals, four federal agencies, over 26,000 medical groups, 3,400 dialysis centers, and more than 8,300 pharmacies, such as Walgreens and CVS MinuteClinic.
“The MHS has been working with other federal agencies and private sector organizations for almost a decade to figure out the many technological, security and regulatory hurdles to securely share patient records. This successful rollout has been a longtime in the making, and the eHealth Exchange is honored to be a part of this important milestone,” said Michael Matthews, Chief Transformation Officer of MedVirginia (an Envera Health Company) and President and Chair of The Sequoia Project Board of Directors. In 2010, MedVirginia was the first health information exchange (HIE) to electronically share health data with the Department of Defense (DoD).
“The military population has unique care needs due to their types of injuries as well as the mobile nature of deployments,” continued Mr. Matthews. “Regardless of what a patient is being treated for or where they are being treated, collaboration with the private sector will help the DoD deliver on its mission to effectively care for servicemen and women as well as their families.”
The expanded eHealth Exchange engagement is part of the DoD’s Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record Health Information Exchange Initiative, which is focused on securely retrieving and exchanging DoD health data with all federal and private sector organizations. VLER HIE is a resource for all patients who have records in the DoD Clinical Data Repository (CDR), which likely includes anyone treated in a military hospital or clinic in the past 20 years. The MHS has more information about the VLER HIE, including opt-out instructions, on its website.