The White House fiscal 2015 budget proposes $74.7 million for the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, a $14 million increase over the current year enacted amount.
The White House fiscal 2015 budget request designates $3.9 billion for the Office of Information and Technology and the Veterans Affairs Department. In nominal terms, that's a $2 billion increased from the estimated current year amount of $3.7 billion.
The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs lack credibility when they say their separate pursuit of electronic health record systems modernization is cheaper than a single EHR would have been, says the Government Accountability Office. A Feb. 27 report from the legislative watchdog also shows how promises of close cooperation in health IT the two departments made during the termination of a program to develop a joint system have been significantly undermined.
Major retail pharmacy chains and industry associations have pledged to adopt Blue Button technical standards to transmit prescription drug history data to customers, the White House announced earlier this month.
The DoD has signaled its intent to buy a commercial EHR to replace its legacy systems since it and the Veterans Affairs Department canceled in February 2013 (citing cost reasons) an effort that would have resulted in a joint EHR running in both military and veterans medical systems.
Since the February 2013 cancelation by the VA and Defense Department of a planned joint integrated EHR – the iEHR – the VA has faced the problem of modernizing its legacy EHR, officially known as the Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture, but referred to daily as VistA. Industry insiders describe VistA Evolution as preparatory work for what may be future procurements of specific EHR modules, such as those for pharmacy prescriptions or lab results.
Sixty-nine percent of physicians had applied or planned to apply for the federal electronic-health-record incentive program in 2013, according to a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Veterans Affairs Department information technology appropriations for the current fiscal year are set to reach $3.7 billion, an amount that exceeds the departmental request of $3.68 billion.
The intersection of mobile technology – devices and sensors – with healthcare delivery has great potential to improve outcomes, especially should nontraditional data sources become more available to physicians, said panelists during a Jan. 9 ACT-IAC panel in Washington, D.C.
The departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs face a Dec. 31, 2016 deadline for deploying modernized electronic health record systems following passage of the fiscal 2014 national defense authorization act into law.