by John R. Fischer
, Senior Reporter | August 12, 2021
Medicom Technologies, developer of the first federated health information network in the U.S. has scored five new contracts for the integration of 23 VA medical centers into its health information network.
Included in the agreements are Veterans Integrated Service Network (VISN) 21, VISN 2 and VISN 9. The Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center of VISN 10 and the VA Illiana Health Care System of VISN 12 are also included, with all five contracts opening up electronic access to medical imaging and records for 2.9 million veterans at 38 medical centers in all, that stretch across 21 states and U.S. jurisdictions.
This, in effect, improves information exchange with private sector facilities and increases the VA's flexibility to efficiently utilize private-sector resources, especially where utilization of VA hospital resources is high.
"Since prior imaging data is oftentimes a requirement for accurate diagnosis, lack of access leads to delays in care, increased risk of delayed diagnosis, unnecessary or repeat imaging procedures, and administrative burdens. Medicom replaces these manual processes," company CEO Michael Rosenberg told HCB News.
The 23 new additions join 15 existing VA Health Care Systems as participants in the network, which is designed to solve interoperability challenges. Whereas most medical images and findings are transported to and from the VA on CDs and DVDs, Medicom’s platform enables providers to index, search and retrieve requested images and reports in a decentralized manner from community providers. This is done electronically through temporary encrypted conduits, and users can seamlessly induct the data into their existing EMRs and PACS.
The process simplifies health information search and retrieval for patients, providers and third-parties and eliminates delays in diagnosis and continuity of care. It also saves the VA an estimated $163-$181 million per year, nationally, on courier services for CDs and DVDs.
Images can be shared without Medicom holding, storing or processing any ePHI. The architecture is designed so that only relevant data is transferred from the private sector to the VA and vice versa through a secure, encrypted conduit. Medicom does not have access to the data transmitted.
Medical centers in VISN 21, the Sierra Pacific Network, include San Francisco VA Health Care System (CA); Central California VA Health Care System (CA); VA Northern California Health Care System (CA); VA Pacific Islands Health Care System (HI); VA Palo Alto Health Care System (CA); and VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System (NV).