By Bo Dagnall, Health Informaticist, HP Account Chief Technologist for Veterans Affairs

With the investment in EHR Modernization by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) and the Department of Defense (DoD), two of the largest healthcare providers in the country are now beginning monumental journeys to modernize their EHR platforms. Their objectives are similar: improve patient care and operational efficiency through digitization of patient health records, team-based care, workflow automation, clinical decision support and data analytics, while reducing costs. Now that the VHA VistA Evolution and the DoD Defense Healthcare Management Systems Modernization programs have begun, it is time to imagine what’s possible beyond a modern EHR for federal healthcare IT.

Driven by the Meaningful Use program, 98% of all hospitals now have an electronic health record (EHR) system.1
One of the things a modern EHR does not necessarily address is patient-based situational awareness. A modern EHR collects and uses clinical data about a patient’s health and the care provided to that patient in a care facility. An episode of care typically starts by documenting the chief complaint and any additional relevant historical information previously captured or provided by the patient. Often missing is critical information about what else happened when the medical event took place. Diagnostic accuracy and effective treatment will improve by knowing what the patient was doing when the medical event took place, what the patient’s actual physiological condition was, what the patient was exposed to and what the patient did and felt before and after the incident occurred…

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