McMorris Rodgers Statement on Spokane Health Technology Pilot Announced by VA, DOD, & INHS

Washington, D.C. – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) released the following statement today after the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced a new pilot in the Spokane region that will improve the portability of health information to veterans and active duty servicemembers.  The Spokane VA Medical Center and Fairchild Air Force Base will partner with Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS), one of the nation’s most recognized health information exchange networks, to securely exchange electronic health record (EHR) information using the Nationwide Health Information Network as a next step towards the implementation of the historic Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record.  

“I am very excited by today’s announcement which demonstrates Spokane’s continued leadership in health technology and innovation.  With Spokane becoming only the fourth community in the nation to help expand health information data sharing for veterans and active duty servicememebers, we have a lot of proud of.  I thank the VA, INHS, and the Defense Department for their outstanding leadership and teamwork on behalf of Spokane’s heroes.”

Rep. McMorris Rodgers has worked on this issue since she first took office, including personally meeting with VA and Department of Defense (DOD) officials when she found out that thousands of medical encounters in Spokane never got reported back to doctors at the VA or the clinic at Fairchild.

A national effort is underway to promote the use of EHRs, which are seen as critical to improving the quality and efficiency of the country’s health care system.  Clinicians from the participating organizations can share authorized patient data electronically, ensuring around-the-clock access to critical health information.  This immediate electronic access supports increased accuracy, efficiency and safety.  Since more than half of America's veterans and active duty servicemembers receive some portion of their health care outside of the VA or Defense Department facilities, interoperability between federal agencies and the private sector is essential to provide the best care for veterans, servicemembers, and their dependents.   The Nationwide Health Information Network is the set of standards, specifications and policies that enable the secure exchange of health information over the Internet between treating physicians, when authorized by a patient.  The VA will invite veterans who already receive health care from the VA and selected hospitals and providers in the Spokane area to sign up for the pilot which will run through 2012.

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