VA Provides EMR Data for Research

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is opening up its electronic medical records (EMR) data to researchers. The redacted, aggregated data, the agency hopes, will allow researchers to identify effective treatments for a number of conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Researchers will also review chest X-rays and cases involving cancer and congestive heart failure.

According to an American Medical News article, the VA says the results will be broader clinical studies that can be used in and outside of the VA system and a showing of how how data-mining can be used in other health information exchanges (HIE), including the national health information network, once its up and running.
Many look to the VA health care system, with its well-established national EMR system, as a testing ground for the national EMR initiative promoted by President Obama’s administration. Research on the VA’s millions of patients could prove very valuable, experts say. While data itself will only be accessible to those affiliated with the VA, the research will be made publicly available for use by physicians everywhere through published research and white papers.

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