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AHN and VA Integrate Electronic Medical Records

Thursday, March 16, 2017

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Allegheny Health Network (AHN) and VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System (VAPHS) today announced the successful integration of their Electronic Medical Records (EMR) platforms. The two organizations can now exchange veterans’ health records securely and seamlessly for a more connected patient-provider experience.

The first records were shared across the AHN and VA EMR platforms last fall, and to date more than 1,700 documents have been exchanged. 

“The expansion of AHN’s Care Everywhere EMR platform to the VA is a major step forward in providing more effective care for patients,” said Robert White, MD, Chief Medical Information Officer at Allegheny Health Network.   

“By allowing for a seamless record exchange, patients who visit providers at various facilities are more empowered the moment they walk in the door. A patient’s up-to-date medical history is immediately available for review, and the need for traveling with paper records is eliminated.  Patients receive more timely and effective care when their providers are equipped with all the health information they need at all times,” Dr. White said. 

Connecting with VA’s EMR platform, known as Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER), affords AHN providers secure electronic access to veterans’ health records stored at any of VA’s 1,233 healthcare facilities nationwide, including VAPHS. Veterans’ participation is strictly voluntary, and requires in-person authorization.

Dr. White said AHN was particularly excited to establish a program to help better serve the nation’s veterans. 

“So many of our patients seek care from both private and VA-based providers that integrating their information is essential to providing optimal care.  It’s a real privilege for us to be able to provide this improved level of care to those who have served our country,” Dr. White said.

VAPHS Director Karin McGraw agrees the records integration is beneficial to veterans. 

“It’s absolutely essential for VA, as well, to be able to see all clinical and laboratory records so we can provide optimal care for our patients – especially now, with many veterans receiving healthcare outside the VA through the Veterans Choice Program. The records integration puts this information at our fingertips,” McGraw said.

EMR integration with other government agencies is also underway at AHN.  In January, AHN began sharing its records with the Social Security Administration and is averaging roughly 1,200 document exchanges a month with the agency.  The Department of Defense is in the onboarding process with the network. 

AHN is currently implementing the Epic EMR across all of its provider sites.  The system has already been launched at the network’s Allegheny General, West Penn and Forbes hospitals, as well as at its Wexford Health + Wellness Pavilion and in most of its employed physician practices.  When completed, AHN will be the region’s only healthcare system, and one of the country’s largest, to be integrated by a single EMR.