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Office of Public and Intergovernmental Affairs


VA Reaches Medical Records Landmark

April 28, 2006, 08:00:00 AM

Printable Version

WASHINGTON – The computerized patient record system of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), already a world leader among health care providers, has achieved a major milestone with the entry of its billionth “vital sign.” 

“This latest achievement attests to the capability and reliability of VA’s electronic health records,” said the Honorable R. James Nicholson, Secretary of Veterans Affairs. “VA sets the standard for patient record systems, and the ultimate winners are the veterans we serve.”

Vital signs – data such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse, weight or pain levels – are routinely recorded for all VA patients.  The nationwide system, known as VistA, collects more than 80,000 vital signs per hour during busy times, and the 995 vital signs entered in one minute during the morning of April 19 pushed the total over 1 billion.  VA began consistently storing that information electronically on August 13, 1990.

“No matter where or when a patient receives care within VA, complete records are available to health care providers throughout the system,” said Dr. Jonathan B. Perlin, VA’s Under Secretary for Health.  “This ensures that the veterans we are privileged to serve receive the high-quality, comprehensive care they need when they need it.”

VistA was developed by VA’s health care professionals and information technology experts.  It is available free-of-charge to health care professionals in the United States.

VA operates the nation’s largest integrated health care system, treating 5.3 million veterans last year at more than 1,400 sites of care, including hospitals, clinics and nursing homes.  

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