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JHIEs give providers better access to patient information

Image of Man looking at X-Ray. The joint HIE securely connects DoD, VA, U.S. Coast Guard, and hundreds of other select federal and private sector partners with patient health and benefit information data. Using the joint HIE, all health providers within the system -whether at a military medical treatment facility or in the TRICARE civilian network-can securely access beneficiary records and health information, including lab and radiology results. (Official Navy photo by Douglas Stutz, Naval Hospital Bremerton Public Affairs)

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Before the SARS-CoV-2 virus began to spread across the globe, the Federal Electronic Health Record Modernization program was in the process of coordinating with the Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department Veterans Affairs to expand provider access to patient health records through the new joint health information exchange, or joint HIE.

“The joint HIE gives providers a more complete view of a patient’s medical history,” said Bill Tinston, director, FEHRM, which spearheaded the establishment of the joint HIE with the DOD and VA. “This reduces the burden of patients to repeat their medical histories and helps providers make more informed treatment decisions, enhancing the care experience.”

The DOD and VA jointly created the FEHRM in 2019 to coordinate future electronic health record decisions and improve collaboration in sharing secure health data between the two health systems. The joint HIE is one of the fruits of that collaboration.

The joint HIE securely connects DOD, VA, U.S. Coast Guard and hundreds of other select federal and private sector partners with patient health and benefit information data. Using joint HIE, all health providers within the system—whether at a military medical treatment facility or in the TRICARE civilian network—can securely access beneficiary records and health information.

When fully deployed, the joint HIE will give providers access to medical data from 225 federal and private sector partners representing more than 2,000 hospitals; 33,000 clinics; 1,100 laboratories; 8,800 pharmacies; and 300 nursing homes around the country.

“The story of the joint HIE is really a story of interagency collaboration,” said Army Col. Francisco Dominicci, chief, DHA Solution Delivery Division. “The DOD has pushed to make health data securely accessible regardless of where our beneficiaries receive care, and now we are expanding to exchange even more data with the VA and a broader set of private providers.”

The joint HIE’s data access mission is especially important during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.

“In the fight against COVID-19, timely, thorough access to a patient’s health records helps inform treatment decisions leading to lives saved,” said U.S. Public Health Service Capt. Mark Clayton, chief, Defense Health Agency Electronic Health Record Modernization Branch. “That’s an exciting part of what joint HIE can do.”

The joint HIE also ensures the health data network is accessible at the many military field clinics and hospital ships, enabling providers in those deployed locations access to the same health records.

Regardless of where beneficiaries go to receive care, the joint HIE will allow providers access to essential information, such as lists of prescription medications, medication allergies, illnesses or existing problems, laboratory and radiology results, immunizations, past medical procedures, and clinical notes.

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