Healthcare IT News: VA still facing interoperability, scaling challenges amidst COVID-19

“As the largest integrated health system in the country, the Veterans Health Administration oversees care at hundreds of hospitals and health systems around the United States.”

“That’s a lot of patients: more than 9 million, to be specific. And caring for those patients, and stewarding their data, requires major infrastructure.”

“‘In a healthcare system in 2021, data really serves as the basis for how decisions are made and how care is delivered,’ said Kimberly McManus, White House Presidential Innovation Fellow at the VA’s Office of Information and Technology, during a symposium this week.”

“The symposium, which was hosted in partnership with the Digital Medicine Society, convened federal officials and industry partners to discuss the most pressing issues facing the agency – and healthcare as a whole.”

“One such issue is interoperability. The COVID-19 pandemic required rapid delivery of tools, such as those used for information sharing, symptom screening, vaccinations, clinical trials and clinical care, with robust connections between data systems.”

“This was in addition to a massive acceleration of digital transformation, including a thousand-fold surge in telehealth visits from veterans from March through June 2020.”

“This interest was ‘dramatically beyond what we’ve seen before and we needed to develop new methods’ in response, said McManus, who described the pandemic as having provided the ‘activation energy’ needed to spin  up new solutions. But data silos present a hurdle, as does the capability to scale products across an enterprise.”

“McManus pointed to new projects at the VA to address those barriers, including a cloud-native data and analytics program known as “Rockies”  that was launched in the spring of 2020.”

“Still, ‘the fragmentation of the healthcare industry on the supply side and the demand side is the biggest challenge we all face,’ said  Micky Tripathi, U.S. National Coordinator for Health IT…” Read the full article here.

Source: VA still facing interoperability, scaling challenges amidst COVID-19 – By Kat Jercich, October 26, 2021. Healthcare IT News.

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