The Department of State’s Office of Medical Services and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Health, Safety and Work-Life Directorate recently signed an interagency agreement to share an Integrated Health Information System (IHiS), which includes a commercial electronic health record, Epic™. This unique collaboration leverages the Coast Guard’s initial procurement investment and stipulates the shared system life cycle costs, thus generating immediate and long-term economic benefits.
The agreement supports the interagency acquisitions authorized by the Economy Act, offering substantial benefits to both agencies, including economies of scale and the ability to share resources. It calls for an innovative interagency disaster recovery network for electronic health records. For the first time, the State Department’s Office of Medical Services healthcare providers will have access to the health records of the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs personnel when caring for these individuals.
Under provisions of this Agreement, Office of Medical Services and U.S. Coast Guard clinicians will also have access to Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER), the Unified Health Record for Active and former members of our Armed Services, and to the Nation-wide Health Information Network (NwHIN). This significantly increases the interoperability of healthcare information within the federal government and private sectors, which is a critical component of health-care reform.