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Mann-Grandstaff At Cutting Edge Of New VA Medical Records System

Bret Bowers/Dept. of Veterans Affairs

Spokane is on the front lines of rolling out a new electronic medical records system for veterans’ health care.

This week, two officials from the Veterans’ Administration are at Mann-Grandstaff VA Medical Center, training staff how to use the new system. Agency officials believe it will help veterans and active duty service members better navigate multiple health care systems.

John Windom is the executive director of the VA’s Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization.

“Right now we’ve got about 130 different Vista systems in VA that don’t really speak to each other. So that’s going to knock down that barrier. The VA facilities and medical centers will be able to speak to one another and exchange information," he said.

He says the VA will also be able to access records from health facilities on military bases and from private providers who care for veterans.

Dr. Laura Kroupa, the chief medical officer for the Office of Electronic Health Record Modernization, says it will also help the agency on a macro level.

“We’ll be able to discover new things about how military service affects health. When we think about having a nationwide network across multiple hospitals and over time, the amount of information that we’ll be able to use to advance research and understanding veterans’ health care issues is going to be phenomenal," Kroupa said.

Windom and Kroupa are in Spokane this week to oversee the training.

Mann-Grandstaff will be among the first hospitals in the nation to begin using the new system next month.