BUFFALO - The De-partment of Veterans Affairs (VA) is proud to announce a new partnership to use health information exchange technology, which will improve the quality of care and delivery of medical treatment to local Veterans, especially those returning from recent conflicts. Western New York is one of 13 communities in the United States selected by VA to participate in the Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) Health Communities Program.
Participating physicians from VA, private practices and hospitals across Western New York will be able to access critical health information for their Veteran patients through HEALTHeLINK, Western New York's clinical information exchange.
The program allows VA health care teams and community providers to access all laboratory, radiology and transcribed reports as well as medication history through HEALTHeLINK's health information ex-change. A signed consent form for both VA and HEALTHeLINK is needed for Veterans to authorize their treating physicians to safely and securely access health information electronically. Veterans can enroll in person at either the Buffalo or Batavia VA facility's Release of Information Office or Veterans Service Center. Forms can also be found online at www.buffalo.va.gov/vler.asp. HEALTHeLINK is coordinating its activities on this initiative with the Nation-wide Health Information Network (NwHIN) through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
HEALTHeLINK is part of the Western New York Beacon Community, one of 17 selected Beacon Com-munities across the country, part of a larger movement to modernize health care. As a Beacon Community, HEALTHeLINK and WNY received a $16.1 million grant from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Tech-nology within the HHS to build and strengthen local health IT infrastructure and test innovative approaches to make measurable improvements in health, care and cost. The grant also focuses on improving clinical outcomes and patient safety with a focus on diabetes care management, through the use of health information technology and health information exchange.