MAY 5, 2017, PROVIDENCE, RI – Rhode Island Quality Institute (RIQI) and Providence VA Medical Center (VAMC) announced today a significant step forward in improving the quality and safety of healthcare for Rhode Island Veterans. For the first time, healthcare providers at the VA and those in the RI community can now quickly and easily share medical information to better coordinate and improve care and treatment for Veterans.
The Health Care Coordination for Rhode Island Veterans project—funded in part through a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation—enables the bi-directional sharing of information through the integration of the VA clinical information and CurrentCare, Rhode Island’s statewide Health Information Exchange (HIE).
“Letting doctors and nurses access Veterans’ full medical history is a common-sense way to better care for those who have served our country,” said U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who founded the Rhode Island Quality Institute while serving as Rhode Island’s Attorney General. “I congratulate the Rhode Island Quality Institute and Rhode Island’s VA Medical Center on connecting and sharing information across two complex data systems. I’m also grateful to the Rhode Island Foundation for investing the resources needed to make it happen.”
Before this project, healthcare staff at both the Providence VAMC and in the community often didn’t know what care the patient was receiving from other providers. Either the records were simply not accessible or Veterans would gather their own records, in paper form, and carry them back and forth between visits to different providers.
“This project has filled an important gap in the care and treatment of Veterans receiving care at both the VA and in community-based healthcare settings throughout Rhode Island,” said Laura Adams, RIQI President & CEO. “This type of collaboration is essential in order to ensure that our Veterans have equal access to the higher levels of care afforded to those already enrolled in CurrentCare.”
Providence VAMC providers are now able to see Veterans’ information from CurrentCare immediately through their own electronic medical record (EMR) without needing to log-in to a separate system. They can also access CurrentCare Viewer to see additional patient information.
VA care teams are now better informed about Veterans’ medications, test results, hospital and emergency encounters and other key details from any care they have received at more than 475 community-based care organizations.
For healthcare providers in the community who are working to coordinate care for Veterans, having access to their VA data through CurrentCare is extremely valuable. They are now able to get a more thorough history, including imaging reports, discharge summaries, specialist consultations and an overall “big picture” understanding of the Veteran and their unique needs. This information comes from a national database so that any Veteran in the country who receives care in Rhode Island can have their information accessible to non-VA providers. In order for VA data to display in CurrentCare, Veterans must enroll in both CurrentCare and in the VA’s Virtual Lifetime Electronic Record (VLER) Health Information Exchange program.
“Many Veterans receive care both in the VA system and from non-VA community providers,” said Dr. Paul Pirraglia, chief of primary care at the Providence VAMC. “Coordination of care is critical to care quality and patient safety. The recent integration of VA clinical information and CurrentCare really enhances our ability to coordinate complex care across multiple systems.” Senator Whitehouse catalyzed this effort by bringing RIQI, key stakeholders from Veterans groups, and the medical community together to promote CurrentCare for veterans. This project was a result of that effort.
For more information, visit www.currentcareri.org.
About Rhode Island Quality Institute
RIQI is a center of collaborative innovation that advances health and healthcare transformation. Our mission is to improve the quality, safety and value of healthcare and share knowledge that advances the field of healthcare improvement. RIQI is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2001 and overseen by a board of directors comprised of senior health industry leaders from our community, including CEOs of hospitals, health insurers and health-related businesses, along with leaders of consumer groups, academia and government agencies. For more information, visit www.riqi.org.
About the Providence VA Medical Center
The Providence VA Medical Center provides Veterans in Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts with high quality healthcare across a broad range of services in medicine, surgery and behavioral science. Consisting of the medical center, located at 830 Chalkstone Avenue, Providence, RI, and community clinics in Middletown, RI, and New Bedford and Hyannis, MA, the facilities comprise more than 1,300 full-time equivalent employees and serve more than 35,000 Veterans.