FDA and Virginia move away from paper-based processes

The FDA and VA have received FedHealthIT awards for their efforts to collect, store, and analyze data to improve patient care.

The Food and Drug Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs received FedHealthIT awards this week for accelerating the move away from paper-based processes, digitizing health records and information to improve the speed and quality of healthcare for the patients.

“Information is the central core,” said FDA senior deputy commissioner Janet Woodcock at receiving the 2022 FedHealthIT Innovation Award on Tuesday. “Information is a lifeblood that must flow through the entire healthcare ecosystem. But unfortunately, my diagnosis is that this circulatory system is, at the moment, very sclerotic.

Most FDA information is paper-based and siloed, making it difficult for the agency to move information from where it is to where it is needed. This leads to delays in patient care, frustrations for healthcare providers, errors in care, and challenges for patient experiences from billing to reimbursement.

The FDA is accelerating scientific computing to streamline data access, analysis, and collection. Woodcock said the technology provides “smarter ways to sift through the huge amount of data.” The FDA looks at proteomics and genomics to provide scientific informatics support.

“We have an enormous amount of human data, and we just don’t know how to put it together. The human mind itself can’t do that,” Woodcock said. “[We need] the combination of intelligent computing with people, for [processes] To work. It’s just too much of a flood of information.

The FDA Data Dashboard, which received an award at the FedHealthIT reception, allows users to search multiple databases and generate dashboard charts based on the results. The dashboard is designed to make it easier to understand, account for, and analyze public FDA data with easy-to-use, visually accessible, customizable, and understandable charts.

“If we’re focusing on data and the accessibility of that data…then make sure [clinicians] have access to it, I think most of the changes, the change will be relatively seamless,” FDA CTO Sohail Chaudhry said at the reception. “We’ve done a lot of refreshes and modernizations…but the data silos at the end of the day still exist. That’s the key. We need to improve on that.

VA is also seeking to transform its healthcare system by digitizing patient records, as demonstrated by its Electronic Health Records Modernization (EHRM) program, empowering providers with the right data at the right time to improve and accelerate health care. health care delivery.

Neil Evans, chief executive of VHA’s Office of Connected Care, said VA is looking to leverage a “healthcare system without walls,” turning to technology accessible outside of VA medical centers to deliver patient care. . To do this, VA must share resources across the enterprise in a standardized way.

FedHealthIT recognized VA for its Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), an innovative electronic communication technology. Healthcare EDI provides secure electronic data exchange between healthcare facilities, providers, and patients, as well as more secure and efficient data processing, such as processing healthcare claims.

“My team’s current focus is to try to support these innovators with platforms that have solved some of the annoying problems so they can focus their time on the real [challenge]said VA technical director Charles Worthington. “[Innovators are] having to work in silos and solve many of the same problems over and over again. It is difficult for them to build on the successes of others. We are trying to change that.

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