Three out of four Veterans receive a portion of their care from non-VA providers. On April 9,
2009, President Barack Obama directed the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department
of Defense to create the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER). On August 2010, Secretary
of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki visited Indianapolis, and after visiting with leaders
from the VA Health Services Research & Development (HSR&D) Center of Excellence and the
Regenstrief Institute, he made the following public comments regarding the latest partnership
between the two institutions: "This new technology allows safer, more secure, and private
access to electronic health information which, in turn, enhances our ability to continue
providing Veterans with the quality care that they have earned."
This new technology refers to the VLER HEALTH program that the Indianapolis VA is now
implementing in partnership with the Regenstrief Institute and Indiana Health Information
Exchange (IHIE). This VA-IHIE demonstration project is intended to create the capacity for VA
institutions to exchange health information with community partners.
Investigators from the VA HSR&D Center on Implementing Evidence-Based Practice are active
collaborators in building and implementing this program. The VA-IHIE program provides the
bi-directional exchange of health information between VA and non-VA providers. Based on our
pilot study of linked VA-IHIE data, investigators are conducting an evaluation of the impact
of the VA-IHIE demonstration project upon health care quality and cost of Veterans by taking
advantage of the initiation of the implementation as a natural experiment.