July 31 (UPI) -- The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs announced the transfer of 78 billion health records for veterans this week, a milestone in their modernization efforts.
The health records of 23.5 million veterans have been sent to contractor Cerner Corp. The 10-year, $16 billion electronic healthcare record (EHR) innovation is meant to improve patient care and support. It also prepares the VA for its planned "go live" event in 2021, in which the current health record system is "turned off" within a facility and the new EHR system is activated.
The contracted solution, an off-the-shelf system called Centor Millennium, is designed with interoperability of VA, Defense Department and private health care providers. It can follow an active duty service member's transition to veteran status, and health records can be compared without multiple cross-references or manual data entry.
The data covers 21 clinical domains of patient health records, including lab results, pharmacy prescriptions, inpatient and outpatient diagnoses and procedures, a VA statement said.
"For decades, VA and DoD [Department of Defense] have been struggling to achieve interoperability and seamlessly share patient records between our health systems, placing an unfair burden on our veterans and their families," VA Secretary Robert Wilkie said. "No veteran, family member or caregiver should have to carry boxes of paper, medical and service records around. This data migration is the first step to solving that problem for good."